Avery steps down as NAACP president to focus on campaign

Avery steps down as NAACP president to focus on campaign

CHAMPAIGN — Six-year NAACP Champaign County President Patricia Avery has stepped down to pursue her campaign for Illinois lieutenant governor.

But she said she's leaving the local branch in good hands, with Minnie Pearson appointed as interim president.

"I don't think we'll miss a beat under Minnie's leadership," she said. "She's been my vice president, my right hand. She's been in lockstep with the issues."

Avery said NAACP Champaign County has achieved successes with many important issues and challenges during her years as president.

One of the first was getting a redistricting map approved by the county board, she said. Under her tenure, the branch also advocated strenuously for a citizen police-review board in Champaign that was approved this year.

"We're real proud that we were at the table and prioritized pushing for a civilian review board, and we sat on the committee that forward a recommendation to the city council to get it approved," she said.

The local branch has also strengthened in number, with its membership doubling, and has seen its partnerships with community organizations grow during her tenure, Avery said.

Pearson, a retired first-grade teacher in the Champaign school district, has been a longtime active member of the Champaign-Urbana community and is a life member of the NAACP, she said. She continues to work with kids as a mentor and as chairwoman of the local anti-bullying campaign.

Avery said Pearson's longtime experience as a teacher is important as she takes over leadership of the local NAACP branch, because education continues to be a major focus.

The Champaign school district is trying to do its best, she said, "but we can never do enough in terms of reaching out for a more diverse pool of educators in our Unit 4 district and I also think that's definitely an area that we would continue to hope to see improvement in," she said.

She also wants to see more diversity in terms of women in top leadership roles in state government as she runs for lieutenant governor, she said.

The state budget crisis hurt a lot of people, she said, and it hurt her to see a lot of moving vans on the roads during some recent travel.

"If we don't hurry up and get it together, we're going to lose so many dollars. So many good people are saying 'I've had enough, I've had enough of the politics, I've had enough of the games, I've had enough of the state,'" she said.

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BruckJr wrote on September 13, 2017 at 9:09 pm

So, does Cobb answer to Pearson now?

wayward wrote on September 13, 2017 at 10:09 pm

Are you saying that Chief Cobb answers to the NAACP because he's black?

GLG wrote on September 14, 2017 at 1:09 am

I saw Chief Cobbs picture on a milk carton at Schnucks! Is he MIA?