CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — According to the latest census data, in Corpus Christi and Nueces County, our African American population consists of over 14,300 residents. That’s about 4% of the population.
While it's a small percentage, it's still a segment of the population that needs representation in elected positions.
"Our goal here in the next two to three years is to vet out the community and get individuals to serve and run for these elected offices," said Jeremy Coleman, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Coleman is actively looking for African Americans in our community who want to be policy makers but have not stepped forward.
"It's one of two things: either we, and when I say 'we' I mean as a community, as a Black community, are not stepping forth or we're not vetting out good leaders to run and be in those positions," he said.
The NAACP as a whole is rolling out a program in the next few weeks to identify those leaders in communities; helping them to take the next step.
"So since we're not getting those individuals coming out and filing, we're going to go to the community and start vetting out and saying 'hey we think you'd be an excellent candidate to run'," Coleman said..
It’s not that there aren't African American leaders in our community.
There are elected officials like; Alice Upshaw, who currently serves on the CCISD school board; Shirley Jordan and Cella Boyd, both elected to the West Oso school board; and Coretta Graham, who is elected as democratic party chair in Nueces County.
And outside of elected officials, you have outstanding people in leadership positions like assistant city manager in Corpus Christi, Neiman Young.
Young says at city hall you can see the diversity.
“When you walk the hallways or jump on a virtual meeting you can see Black professionals, women, Asians and even disabled professionals," he said.
For Coleman, diversity in elected positions starts now.
“There are some great, outstanding leaders, individuals who have the potential to be policymakers… those individuals are here and we need to pull them out because we're going to need them."
If you’d like to reach out to Jeremy Coleman you can reach out to him at (361) 443-3848 or at (361) 884-8541.