Evesham Township Council honors president of Southern Burlington County NAACP
Council recognized Crystal Charley’s “proactive approach” in building relationships with Evesham’s police and governing body through open communication.
It was in 1909 when activists such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington and Moorfield Storey banded together to create the NAACP, which to this day continues to serve as bi-racial organization to advance equal rights for African Americans across the United States.
It was in 1966 when the Southern Burlington County chapter of the NAACP was formed, which later gained fame across the state as the plaintiff in the 1975 state Supreme Court case that produced the “Mount Laurel Doctrine” — the judicial interpretation that requires municipalities to use their zoning powers to provide an opportunity for the construction of low- and moderate-income housing.
And it was in 2019, just this week, when Evesham Township Council, at its second regular meeting in February, presented a proclamation to Southern Burlington County NAACP chapter president Crystal Charley as part of the celebration of Black History Month.
Mayor Jaclyn Veasy described Black History Month as an occasion to rediscover the “enduring stories” of African Americans, as well as the gifts of freedom, purpose and opportunity — gifts that Veasy said should be entrusted to future generations.
In reading the proclamation to honor Charley, Veasy specifically pointed to Charley’s “proactive approach” in building relationships with the Evesham Township Police Department and the township’s governing body through open communication and education awareness.
“We value this organization and their leaders’ contributions to enrich our history and culture that unites us as a community,” Veasy said.
Veasy also said the township wanted to recognize the Southern Burlington County Chapter of the NAACP for its legacy in ensuring all communities receive equitable and fair support, as well as full representation of their civil rights.
“Today, we pay tribute to our diverse community in Evesham and the people that accomplish extraordinary achievements,” Veasy said.
Charley, upon accepting the proclamation, thanked Veasy and the township for recognizing the Southern Burlington County NAACP and its work.
“We appreciate you celebrating humanity and the work that we do,” Charley said. “It was indeed an act of humanity towards us.”
Harkening back to the founders of the NAACP, which include members of different races and genders, Charley said those founders represent “diversity and inclusion,” which led her to call for all people to push past ideologies rooted in bigotry.
“They bring out the very worst in people. It’s time to bring out the very best…we implore you to just do right by one another and to show the very best in humanity,” Charley said.
Although Evesham Chief of Police Christopher Chew was absent from the meeting, ETPD Captain Walt Miller was on hand to thank council for recognizing Charley and to thank Charley for her work and the work of the Southern Burlington Chapter of the NAACP.
“That relationship is the reason we’re able to do what we do,” Miller said.