AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Branch NAACP is the oldest civil rights organization in Amarillo with the goal of creating equity and equality for all persons in Amarillo.

The Amarillo Branch NAACP has been around for nearly 80 years and the mission during that time has not changed.

“The mission of the Amarillo Branch NAACP is to ensure the educational, economic, sociopolitical, and equality rights of all persons and to work to eliminate hate and racial discrimination,” said Patrick Miller, executive officer/Asst. Treasurer with the Amarillo Branch NAACP.

Patrick Miller, also a former president of the Amarillo Branch NAACP said that mission can look different all over the country.

“That looks completely different here in Amarillo than it would in many other localities, it just depends on your population. But the work that we do collaboratively with other local leaders and other non-profit organizations and civic organizations alike allow us to actually foster that idea of community with heart,” said Miller.

Miller said the community makes sure that the most pertinent issues that are affecting the area are brought to the branch’s attention.

“These issues can range from education and access…when it comes to economic issues if someone has an issue at their place of employment and it touches on the issues of legal redress, we don’t talk about those issues publicly, because those are legal matters, but those situations are brought to our attention and handle by a committee and then brought to the executive committee so that we know exactly what is going on as those matters arise. When it comes to addressing the issues regarding socioeconomic status, we get behind issues such as the North Heights Advisory Association.”

Miller said that the branch proudly established a scholarship fund and said during the pandemic they saw no lapse in scholarship fundraising.

He added that over the past few years they raised over $45,000 to go to area high school seniors.

“I think education is so extremely important and being able to further your education is something that everybody inspires to. What we found is that some students are not traditional students, so they don’t need the four-year institution, so we have been giving scholarships to trade schools and things like that. The overall idea is education leads to generational wealth,” said the President of the Amarillo Branch NAACP, Melodie Graves.

Miller said the Amarillo Branch NAACP serves all people of all backgrounds, a common misconception of many.

“I think the biggest misconception is that we’re, we only are all African-American, that we only serve African-Americans. You can’t have equality of rights of all persons and only serve one particular subpopulation, it’s about service to all and that’s what we are about. We are an all-inclusive non-profit, non-partisan organization and that is how we are going to continue to remind,” said Miller.

The Amarillo Branch NAACP said they are operating under the mantra of ‘it’s our time’. Graves said this motto pushes them to be heard and speak with people about what their needs are.

And Miller added they are going to continue outreach efforts to ensure appropriate access to voting and he said they are going to stand in firm opposition to those who restrict access to voting.

Graves said there is always room for growth and they always need volunteers, she says especially as they grow and address more issues, they will need people with different skill sets.