NAACP opens office in Stuart: Grand opening celebration set for December 2nd

Local NAACP President Jimmy Smith at the group’s new office in Gary Plaza, East Stuart.

In Florida and elsewhere, most of the 2,200 local chapters of the NAACP are staffed by volunteers who do their work from home or in borrowed space. So it’s fairly unusual for any community, especially a small one, to have a local office. But that’s precisely what is about to happen in Martin County.

Thanks to the largesse of one of the nation’s preeminent African-American lawyers, and the vision of the local NAACP unit president, the Martin County Unit will open its office on December 2nd, and a roster of civil rights advocates and civic leaders are expected to participate in the ceremonies.

Led by its president, Jimmy Smith, the Martin County Unit secured a dollar-a-month lease on office space at Gary Plaza, a small commercial complex owned by attorney Willie E. Gary and his wife, Gloria.

“We have dreamed of having an office to serve this community for a long time,” said Smith, “and we are excited beyond belief that this dream has come true.”

“We also are hopeful that our presence in Gary Plaza will be a kind of anchor, and begin a trend for other businesses to establish similar workplaces there,” he added.

A team of volunteers headed by Smith and his wife, Connie, have been working around the clock to transform the space, located in the heart of East Stuart at 720 Martin Luther King Boulevard. Additional support has come from tradesmen like Alfonso Coleman, who refurbished the bathroom, and businesses like Reel Graphics, which donated signage.

With a sparkling new floor, soft blue walls and upgraded electrical and plumbing amenities, the renovated office will be staffed part-time – by volunteers – and will be used to support the organization’s mission, “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”

The grand opening celebration, complete with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and live entertainment, will be held from 4:00-8:00 PM on Saturday, December 2nd. Mayor Troy McDonald will officiate. Light refreshments will be provided by Smith’s catering firm, Jimmy’s Barbeque, and the band, Coalescence of Stuart, will perform.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, campaigning for equal opportunity and conducting voter mobilization.

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