Windham / Willimantic NAACP

 Windham-Willimantic NAACP Branch Forms Gary Ralls NAACP Youth Council

Date: October 3, 2023     Leah Ralls

WINDHAM, CT – As it strives to fight oppression while securing equal rights for Black people, the local NAACP branch has recently gained some formidable younger allies. Local teens were recently installed as officers and members of the newly-formed Gary Ralls NAACP Youth Council on April 29 and 30. Gary Ralls, who was Second Vice President of the Windham-Willimantic NAACP Branch until his death in November 2020,was passionate about civil rights and was instrumental in the reactivation of the local adult branch in 2016.

The national NAACP Youth & College Division, which coordinates youth councils across the country, aims to:

  • Inform youth of the problems affecting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities;
  • Advance the economic, educational, social, and political status of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities, and their harmonious cooperation with other peoples;
  • Stimulate an appreciation of the African Diaspora and other people of color’s contribution to civilization; and
  • Develop an intelligent, effective youth leadership.

“Clearly our goals coincide with those of the Youth Council, and we obviously can reinforce one another’s anti-racist efforts,” said Leah Ralls, President of the Windham-Willimantic NAACP and the wife of Gary Ralls. “In particular, with regard to developing ‘an intelligent, effective youth leadership,’ our adult members have extensive leadership experience in a wide range of professions including administration, finance, education, health and security as well as direct knowledge of what it takes to cope with ever-present racism.”

“We’ve developed a mentoring program to ensure that youth council members derive a wide knowledge of the challenges faced by Black people and the skills demanded to cope with those challenges,” added Ralls.

“I appreciate being chosen as the Advisor for the Gary Ralls NAACP Youth Council #2956,” said Ilda Ray, Education Chairwoman for the local adult branch. “I look forward to working with this group of amazing students.”

Dr. Cory McCarter, Co-Advisor to the youth council, was enthusiastic about the installation. “These are our fearless youth leaders. Too often we say, be the change you wish to see. These young people have stepped forward to be that change,” said Dr. McCarter. “Let us focus on the actions they have taken to come forward in a world where so much is evolving. I am excited and eager to support them.”

Youth interested in joining the council can visit the Gary Ralls NAACP Youth Council webpage at


About the NAACP:
The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.