National NAACP president speaks in Front Royal

Cornell William Brooks, NAACP national president and CEO , center, speaks with with Chuck Smith, left, candidate for Virginia attorney general, and Warren County Supervisor Daniel J. Murray Jr., right. Jake Zuckerman/Daily

FRONT ROYAL — The president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People spoke about strained relationships with law enforcement officers and the importance of voting rights at a fundraiser for the Warren-Page NAACP branch Saturday.

The branch’s annual Freedom Fund Banquet hinged around the presentation of community service awards to Sheriff Daniel McEathron of Warren County and Front Royal Chief of Police Norman Shiflett, along with the keynote address from NAACP National President Cornell William Brooks.

From a lectern before approximately 200 people, Brooks said the NAACP works to protect the right to peaceful protest as well as condemn acts of violence against law enforcement officers.

“That black lives matter is the moral predicate to the ethical conclusion that all lives matter,” Brooks said. “Unless the first is true the second can never be true. The NAACP has been very clear when protesters have been brutalized, attacked, maligned, insulted and treated as third class citizens in their cities in their communities the NAACP has stood flat footed and called it out. But when people have dropped cinder blocks on the heads of police officers, fired bullets into the bodies of police officers, we have said in clear unambiguous terms, that all lives matter whether your skin is black or your uniform is blue.”

Along with criminal justice issues, Brooks said the NAACP also works to protect citizens’ voting rights, which are in need of protection.

Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron, left, accepts an NAACP Community Service Award from NAACP National President and CEO Cornell William Brooks during a dinner on Saturday evening. Jake Zuckerman/Daily

“When you walk into the voting booth, when you stand as a patriotic citizen before the ballot box, the ballot box is not colored red, white and blue. It is colored and covered with the blood, sweat and tears of the NAACP,” Brooks said.

Other speakers addressing the audience at the banquet included Chuck Smith, candidate for Virginia attorney general, A.D. Carter III, president of the NAACP Warren-Page County branch, and Front Royal Mayor Timothy Darr, speaking on behalf of Shiflett, who could not attend the event.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com