A collegiate chapter of the NAACP has been chartered at the University of Lynchburg. It’s the first collegiate chapter in the Lynchburg area and the culmination of a dream that Davion Washington ’21 has had since his arrival on campus four years ago.
“My love for the NAACP is personal and very near and dear to my heart, so as a senior who is preparing to graduate, I could not let this dream slip away before I left the institution,” Washington, a Westover Honors Fellow from Charlotte, North Carolina, said.
Washington, who also is Student Government Association president, has been a member of the civil rights organization since his freshman year of high school. The sociology major was president of his high school’s chapter from 2015 to 2017 and has served on the youth subcommittee of the Charlotte Branch of the NAACP since 2015.
He began the process of forming a University chapter last fall. “I simply wish to get this chapter off the ground and begin to do pivotal work on campus and within the community pertaining to social justice, activism, political education, and efforts to push diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus,” Washington said at the time.
The new chapter was official on May 15. “I am elated to finally be chartered as an official chapter of the NAACP!” Washington wrote in an email not long after receiving the news. “This has been a personal goal of mine to bring a chapter here since my first year, so receiving our charter right before I graduate is incredibly joyous to me!
“I am excited for the work that this chapter will do and opportunities that it will bring to the University as well! The real work begins now!”
In announcing the new chapter, Brianna Reaves, vice president of the Virginia State Conference NAACP Youth and College Division, praised Washington and others involved. “I know that you all have worked tirelessly to establish this chapter, and I know that this charter was a great priority of Chapter President Davion Washington before graduating,” she wrote in an email.
“Thus, I am so excited to see how the University of Lynchburg college chapter will impact your community and the state of [Virginia] with outstanding leadership and unwavering commitment to the mission and vision of the NAACP.”
Membership in Lynchburg’s collegiate chapter is open to all undergraduate graduate students. The chapter will be overseen by the NAACP’s Lynchburg Branch. Dr. Robert Canida, vice president for inclusive excellence at Lynchburg, will serve as the chapter’s co-advisor.
“I plan to help Mr. Washington and the collegiate membership to be a mover and shaker as it relates to social justice and civil and human rights,” he said, adding that the collegiate chapter also will work with the city’s chapter.
“This is a must. Collegiate chapters learn about effective leadership and the historical significance of the NAACP from the local/adult chapters. In turn, collegiate chapters will introduce new initiatives to the local/adult chapter.”