Civil Rights Groups Work 24/7, 365 - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

02/01/07 - Angelina County

Civil Rights Groups Work 24/7, 365

by Ramonica R. Jones

The Citizens Chamber has been around since the 1940s. It was founded to improve African American neighborhoods and establish affordable housing in Lufkin for low income residents.

A.C.C.C. board member, Alex Alexander, said, "We work with the other chamber. We're involved in Vision 2020, but this organization [was] established during that time for [the black community] and we're constantly assessing that. We feel like the citizens feel like if we're located in the area of north Lufkin, they have a place to go if they have a concern."

Groups like the Citizens Chamber and North Lufkin Neighborhood Association spend all year trying to improve African-American communities through health, economic, and faith-based programs, but they want and need more involvement from the people they serve.

Member, Gloria Toran, said, "I'm not sure the community really understands how many things they can get done through their participation in the neighborhood association."

Toran would also like to see more support and input from community leaders.

"If our churches were a little more involved - because they reach and see more people on a regular basis - I think that would help a lot."

But getting help starts with helping yourself. That's why promoting education is a big part of civil rights groups. The Citizens Chamber started the Ecomet Burley Scholarship for college bound Angelina County students. The group hands out several financial awards a year.

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