first_imgLANCASTER – Rumors of the demise of the Antelope Valley branch of the NAACP weren’t just greatly exaggerated – they’re altogether untrue. That’s according to Celeste Eckley, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s local branch president, speaking at a recent press conference at Kemetic Preparatory School in Lancaster. The announcement that the chapter is alive and well came after local NAACP officials learned individuals acting on their own were raising money and recruiting members independently, saying that the branch no longer exists. Eckley said it was unclear who was collecting donations and where the money went. “The purpose of this is to enlighten the community that we’re alive and well,” Eckley said, noting that the branch has remained an active force in the community since its 1954 inception. The branch’s inaugural president, Lois Patton, remains involved, too, Eckley said. The Antelope Valley branch covers all of Northern Los Angeles County west of Interstate 5 and parts of Southern Kern County. The Branch boasts more than 150 members and receives each week five to 10 complaints alleging discrimination. “We want to get people involved, but we want people to get involved in the right way,” Eckley said. “We don’t want people out there doing there own thing.” Eckley said the NAACP encourages people of all races and ethnicities to join. The organization is committed to defending all Americans against discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age or physical disabilities. “As long as discrimination exists, there will be a need for the NAACP,” Eckley said. The local branch can be reached at (661) 223-7376, or on its Web site: avnaacp.org. [email protected] (661) 267-7802last_img read more