Two South Jersey civil rights leaders will play important leadership roles of the state’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People over the next two years.

Richard Smith, president of the Greater Vineland branch of the NAACP, said he was honored to serve as state president “of the oldest African American civil rights organization.”

His first goal, he said, is to establish an official state headquarters in Trenton.

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“This will provide the NJSC the visibility and accessibility to the state’s lawmakers where we can advocate our issues and lobby for legislation that impact our mission,” Smith said.

Vivian M. J. Darkes, of Atlantic City, will serve as state secretary, after winning her seat in a run-off election earlier in the month.

Darkes works at AtlantiCare and has been employed in the health care industry for more than 20 years, according to her official bio on the NAACP website.

Smith, of Williamstown, has worked at the state’s Department of Corrections for 23 years and serves as one of seven state Division of Civil Rights commissioners.

He’s previously served on the Vineland Board of education and in 2005 ran for a seat on the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

This past November, he was re-elected to his seventh term as president of the NAACP Greater Vineland Branch, No. 2115.

Other elected officers include First Vice President Adrienne Sanders, Asbury Park; Second Vice President Lloyd Henderson, Camden County East, Third Vice President Loretta Winters, Gloucester, assistant state secretary Kyra Price, Willingboro, and state Treasurer Thomas L. Reynolds, Montclair.

They will take office Jan. 25 at the Lafayette Yard Hotel and Convention Center in Trenton.


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