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New local NAACP president seeks to build on Mesiah's accomplishments

courtesy secondbaptistchurchny.org

After leading the NAACP Buffalo Branch for the past two decades, Frank Mesiah is handing the reins to the organization's new president. The Reverend Mark Blue says he'd like to have a "resurgence of education" on what the NAACP is, and what it isn't.

Reverend Blue, who is pastor of Second Baptist Church in Lackawanna, readily admitted during his interview with WBFO that he has "big shoes to fill" by replacing Mesiah. But he's eager to lead the NAACP as it builds on Mesiah's accomplishments.

"Voter registration has been one of the prime areas of his concern," Reverend Blue said. "Reaching out to those who are in despair. The school board and school system has been another prime concern. Making sure that we have good fair labor practices as well, among those who are less fortunate as the African-American community, Latinos and women."

While Buffalo has celebrated its self-described economic renaissance, critics within the African-American community say not enough of the opportunities have been made available to their peers. Blue says it's not just with the construction jobs created to rebuild Buffalo but all through the economic spectrum. 

"A lot of people look at construction jobs and think that there's a lot of disparate treatment but there's also white collar jobs as well," Blue said. 

The NAACP remains, first and foremost, a civil rights organization. It is one that, Blue points out, has remained a constant while other movements have come and gone. When asked about the current political climate and what it does to influence the NAACP's mission, Blue stated that many had become complacent with an African-American president in the White House but must now awaken.

"What we have to do and what we should have done is continue to fight and continue to stand behind our president and continue to be forward and forthcoming in the areas of education, and the areas of jobs and the areas of family that we silently went to sleep on," he said.

But he added that "people have become more astute" when asked what has been accomplished in Buffalo.

In addition to serving as a pastor, Blue also spent 20 years in the Air Force Reserve, retiring as a Master Sergeant in 2003. He worked at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station as an Aircraft Propulsion Technician and served as an Equal Opportunity Employment Counselor and a Human Resource Development Council member on the base.

 
 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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