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Effort to start new NAACP chapter underway in Grosse Pointe

Sep 15, 2015

Credit azotesdivinos / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Plans are underway to start a new chapter of the NAACP in the Grosse Pointe suburbs northeast of Detroit.

Organizers say the new branch will work to promote diversity and tolerance through fine arts programming and youth activities that help forward discussions on diversity and tolerance.

Greg Bowens, one of the Grosse Pointe residents leading the effort, said some people have been "shocked" at the idea of starting an NAACP chapter in the mostly white community

"Their reaction is based upon an historic lens that is tainted by intolerance, bigotry, and the idea that Grosse Pointe is a lily-white enclave, when it is not," Bowens said.

Bowens says one of the chapter's early goals will be to change that mindset.

"There are people who will not come to the Pointes because they think it's a bigoted place," Bowens said. "This sends a nice little flare into the sky saying, 'No, it's not that way.'"

A planning meeting is set for next week, to help recruit the 50 dues-paying members needed to get the chapter started.

Bowens said anyone may join, including non-Grosse Pointe residents.