She chose to change; she had to stand up for her rights for it to be seen. Charlotte Mathews-Nelson has spent decades working as an activist. She grew up volunteering with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She reactivated the college chapter of the NAACP at the Northeastern University. Sometimes when things aren’t right and you can see it, you have to stop waiting for change to happen and start working on making change happen.
As a black woman growing up in Florida, there were a lot of things that weren’t right. First, it was seeing her mother at voting poll booths to ensure black people weren’t threatened out of voting. Then there is the difference in the education received, what they were studying in fifth grade was being studies by the third-grader at district white schools. The city of Boston recognised her “decades of service to the people of Boston and her commitment to racial justice and equity.” She has continuously worked for the upliftment of her community and equal rights.
NAACP is the nation’s oldest civil rights organisation. Mathews-Nelson began volunteering in the 1960s. She worked quite a bit in various administrative positions. Finally, she was elected as the New England Area Conference president for five consecutive terms, overseeing NAACP branches in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont in 1990. Today, she is an advisor at the organisation. Over a period of time, Mathews-Nelson has served on various university bodies, Commission on the Status of Women at Northeastern University, and the Affirmative Action Council. She is also a former president of Northeastern University’s Black Faculty and Staff Association.
She went to work fixing the inequities in Boston. She served at various prominent committees and organisations working for the rights in Boston. The roster of Mathews-Nelson’s service goes on. Touching the lives of the youth, seeing them work and progress in their lives makes you feel proud of what you are doing.
A life of community service and volunteer work and organising and activism and standing up to injustice isn’t what people choose to do while growing up. Everyone has a dream they wish to pursue, but in the process of growing the things you see, it makes you want to correct them – To end the cycle of wrongdoings so the next generation of children do not leave their dreams behind to fight injustice. At the end of the day, there is satisfaction in choosing to make a difference.