March 7, 2024

Battalion Chief Lance Blakey Accepted Into IAFC Diversity Executive Leadership Program

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) president, John Butler, announced the individuals who have been accepted into the IAFC Diversity Executive Leadership Program.

Charlottesville Fire Department’s Battalion Chief, Lance Blakey, was 1 of 15 selected nationwide for the highly selective program. Chief Blakey, the first African American Battalion Chief in CFD’s 166-year history, was promoted in 2022. His commitment to his community and ability to drive positive change played a pivotal role in his selection.

The iDELP program created by the IAFC in 2016 cultivates current and future leaders from under-represented groups using networking, professional development guidance, and involvement in strategic opportunities to elevate inclusiveness within the IAFC. Under President Butler’s leadership, the iDELP program has expanded to include formal learning objectives that focus on the challenges and impacts faced by leaders and fire service organizations as they relate to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB).

During the 18-month cohort, iDELP fellows will learn from subject matter experts, develop solutions to current and emerging issues, and share those initiatives with the fire and emergency services community.

The iDELP program is one of the premier fire and emergency services DEIB educational programs offered. Focused on preparing individuals to be successful DEIB-thought leaders and solutions catalysts, this unique program is one of many ways that the IAFC is molding the fire and emergency service leaders of tomorrow.

Lance Blakey Alternate Headshot

Media Contact
Kyle Ervin
Public Safety Information Officer
City of Charlottesville


Founded on February 12th in 1909, the  NAACP will be 115 years old on the 12th of FEBRUARY – and remains very relevant in today’s troubling  times.

The Albemarle-Charlottesville Branch of the NAACP will celebrate FOUNDERS’ DAY on Sunday, February 11, 2024. The event will be held at Chapman Grove Baptist Church, 2064 Stony Point Road, Charlottesville, VA, 22911 and will begin at 4 pm.

Our keynote speaker for the event will be Ms. Khaliah Ali, daughter of Mohammad Ali.



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 15, 2024

This day – Monday, January 15, 2024 – falls on the actual birthday of the celebrated civil rights icon.

In 1983, Congress designated MLK Day as a federal holiday. This day is observed by many as a day of service. It is also a day to reflect upon the impact which the civil rights leader has made in voting rights, racial injustice, and inequality.

Dr. King may be remembered by most people for his “I Had a Dream” speech. As we remember what Dr. King expressed in his speech, it appears that in today’s polarized climate, we might ask ourselves, will the Dream ever become a reality? It seems that the response of a segment of the populus appears to disavow the Dream as a possibility of ever becoming reality. But we must remember that hope springs eternal, and continue to accept the seemingly never-ending challenges of life in order that one day, our children and grandchildren will be the recipients of our efforts. When We Fight, We Win!

Janette B. Martin, President

Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP


Statement from Virginia NAACP:

“Virginia’s returning citizens, and all Virginians, deserve to know the truth about Governor Youngkin’s rights restoration process and why he has restored voting rights to only a fraction of those eligible. Virginia NAACP has worked tirelessly over the past seven months to obtain public records—records which it is entitled to under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (”VFOIA”)—in order to shine a light on this process, which has a discriminatory impact on Black Virginians and other Virginians of color. It is outrageous that Governor Youngkin continues to fight tooth and nail to withhold key information about this process—including even what information he considers when determining whether to restore an individual’s sacred right to vote.

We are disappointed in Judge Marchant’s limited ruling today that the governor’s restoration of rights database is exempt from production under VFOIA, even in partially redacted form removing applicants’ personal identifying information. This database contains key information, including the information collected about each applicant that informs the rights restoration decision. Moreover, the evidence presented today shows that this database is also used for other purposes—such as communications with applicants and other state agencies—and, therefore, is disseminated outside the Governor’s Office, making at least these portions of the database subject to public disclosure under VFOIA.

We will continue to fight to vindicate our right to review these public records and again call on Governor Youngkin to make public the complete criteria he uses to determine whether to restore an individual’s right to vote and to commit to a process that fairly and promptly restores the rights of all eligible returning citizens.”



December 6, 2023

Contact: Corlis Anderson;

Local NAACP Branch Calls for Safe Learning Environment & Equitable Resources in Charlottesville City Schools

In response to the recent events at Charlottesville High School,

the Albemarle-Charlottesville Branch #7057 of the NAACP releases the following statement:

Every child deserves an opportunity to reach their full potential. To bridge academic gaps and ensure that all children get a real chance at a fulfilling education, we need to address systemic racism and poverty as tangible barriers to learning and future achievement. Every Black student deserves access to great teaching, equitable resources, and a safe learning environment from grade school classrooms to college campuses. Black students matter, and working on their behalf has never been more urgent.

Students need family and community engagement and resources that encourage physical and mental health for their overall well-being, which allows for stronger academic development. We support students getting the education and skills development they need, so they can be successful on the job or in an academic environment.

We need strategies and investments that build accountability to advance the success of children of color. Black children deserve to experience culturally relevant, student-centered learning and appropriate discipline measures. Our goal is to work to expand policies and interventions that equip families and communities to better support their kids’ needs in school.

Furthermore, in compliance with NAACP policy, we:

  • Advocate for reforms to include issues of discipline in the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the main federal law that addresses achievement gaps among students.
  • Work to change state laws to remove zero tolerance policies from being a default or requirement for districts.
  • Advocate at district level for policies that do not remove students from school and ensure that  students being disciplined get access to a challenging curriculum.




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On Friday, December 1, 2023 the Albemarle-Charlottesville Branch of the NAACP will host its Freedom Fund Banquet at The Center at Belvedere, located at 540 Belvedere Boulevard in Charlottesville, VA. The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with a silent auction and cash bar. The program will begin at 7:00 pm with dinner served at 7:30 pm. Our keynote speaker for the evening will be Mrs. Gloria Sweet-Love, NAACP National Board Member and President of the Tennessee State Conference NAACP. The evening continues with live music and dancing.

The Freedom Fund Banquet is the major fundraising event for all branches of the NAACP! Your contributions allow us to offer valuable workshops, scholarships, and activities for both our youth and adult membership as well as for the larger community that we serve. Your generosity also makes it possible for our branch to have representation at state, regional, and national conferences where members receive valuable information and training that promote civil rights and justice for all.

We appreciate your patronage and support!


Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP Freedom Fund Committee



November 13, 2023


Karen E. Jones, (540) 449-4742 |

Virginia NAACP Encourages the Election of an African American Majority Leader in the Senate of Virginia

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Virginia NAACP is encouraged by the impending historical event of having an African American Speaker of the House, Speaker-Designee Don Scott, while simultaneously having an African American majority leader in the Senate. Senator Mamie Locke, who, based on her seniority and her demonstrated leadership in the Senate as the Senate Caucus leader, her appointments as chair of the Rules, Virginia Housing Commission, and Freedom on Information Advisory Council, is the apparent choice for Senate Majority Leader. The path to equity and equality in the Commonwealth has been a steady but oftentimes slow and inconsistent journey.  The attainment of political, economic, social, and educational rights for all people, regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, or gender, has a clearer path when political leadership reflects the entirety of the Commonwealth’s residents. 

Rev. Cozy Bailey, Presidentstated: “In the post Reconstruction era, Virginia has in the past elected an African American governor and two African American lieutenant governors.  On the eve of this next great historical event, we are given hope for an even greater future.”

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ABOUT THE NAACP Virginia State Conference
Chartered in 1935, the NAACP Virginia State Conference (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth. The NAACP Virginia advocates, agitates, and litigates for civil rights due to Black Virginians. Representing over 100 NAACP adult branches, youth councils, and college chapters, together, we fight to build the social and political power required to abolish racial discrimination in localities throughout Virginia. To learn more about the work of the Virginia NAACP and the issues we advocate for, visit

NAACP Condemns SCOTUS Ruling on Affirmative Action

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued extreme decisions reversing decades of precedent on affirmative action. The court’s rulings in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina jeopardize hard-fought progress for Black Americans in classrooms and beyond.

NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson released the following statement reaffirming the Association’s commitment to tools that support equal access to higher education for Black students:

“Today the Supreme Court has bowed to the personally held beliefs of an extremist minority. We will not allow hate-inspired people in power to turn back the clock and undermine our hard-won victories. The tricks of America’s dark past will not be tolerated. Let me be clear – affirmative action exists because we cannot rely on colleges, universities, and employers to enact admissions and hiring practices that embrace diversity, equity and inclusion. Race plays an undeniable role in shaping the identities of and quality of life for Black Americans. In a society still scarred by the wounds of racial disparities, the Supreme Court has displayed a willful ignorance of our reality. The NAACP will not be deterred nor silenced in our fight to hold leaders and institutions accountable for their role in embracing diversity no matter what.”  
At noon, NAACP National Director of Youth & College
Wisdom Cole, led a group of students and activists in a mobilization
starting at the Supreme Court steps. Cole said of today’s decision:

“This is a dark day in America. Affirmative action has been a beacon of hope for generations of Black students. It stood as a powerful force against the insidious poison of racism and sexism, aiming to level the playing field and provide a fair shot at a high-quality education for all. Students across the country are wide awake to the clear and present danger encroaching on their classrooms. We will continue to fight, organize, mobilize and vote against all attempts to hold us back. We will hold the line against this clear pattern of hate. We will thrive!”

Thriving Together,

Derrick Johnson
President and CEO