NAACP President receives award

Published 8:20 pm Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NEWS_BILL BOOTH_141023_WEBThe president of the Beaufort County NAACP was recently recognized for his leadership during the 71st North Carolina NAACP State Conference.

William “Bill” Booth, who has been the president of the Beaufort County NAACP for the past seven years, was honored at the conference in Fayetteville on Oct. 11 with the President of the Year award due to his leadership of the chapter and its efforts to tackle issues in the community, according to a Beaufort County NAACP press release.

Booth said he has worked closely with several organizations and administrative figures in the community. Booth and the BCNAACP were instrumental in supporting the citizens of Belhaven and its surrounding areas in the attempt to save the only emergency care facility within 30 miles of the area. Booth filed a Title 6 civil rights complaint against Vidant Health for closing the hospital and the U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating.

Booth and his organization have also aided in tackling the issue of bullying in the Beaufort County school system, he said. Students in three high schools began to complain of faculty and students bullying other students, Booth said. Parents contacted his organization for assistance to stop the bullying and Booth and the NAACP became a voice for the students, he said.

“We received a number of complaints from parents in Beaufort County,” Booth said. “I brought it to the attention of the superintendent. He was very instrumental, also, in bringing about changes in policies, and a memorandum went out to teachers, parents and the community about how schools couldn’t tolerate [bullying].”

Another issue that Booth has taken a public stance on is the proposed building of a public safety facility in Chocowinity’s Industrial Park. Booth’s organization questions why a tier one county sees the need to build a new jail at the expense of the citizens who can’t afford more taxation. With thousands of dollars having been spent on renovating the current jail, the new jail is not seen as a priority by the organization when citizens need jobs and better housing, according to the release.

Booth said the award reflects not only his work, but the work of all the members of the Beaufort County NAACP.

“Winning this award — it’s really unique,” Booth said. “Out of 100 plus branches, me being selected as President of the Year, it shows, to me, they recognize what we’ve done — not just me as president of the Beaufort County NAACP, but the efforts of my staff and others within the organization that made it possible. If not for the support of the members, there wouldn’t be a Beaufort County NAACP.”

Booth said he and his organization will continue to work with community leaders and the community itself in tackling issues that shape the quality of life in Beaufort County.