New Kalamazoo NAACP Leader Seeks to Revive Group's Luster

Feb 14, 2019

New NAACP President Wendy Fields at WMUK 102.1 FM on Feb. 6, 2019.
Credit Earlene McMichael | WMUK

Wendy Fields was sworn in last week as the new president of the Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch of the NAACP. She hadn't plan to run. "I was sought out by community leaders, by pastors and community members. People were hurting," Fields said. She has scheduled a public reception for the community to meet her and the new NAACP board on Friday, Feb. 22 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Fetzer Center at Western Michigan University.

"I really am humbled," Fields told WMUK's Earlene McMichael today on the WestSouthwest public-affairs show when asked her reaction to being recruited. "You do what you do, be it volunteer, give back, because you care. I was really surprised for the reasons that they gave (for asking me): We trust you. We know you. We see you. Will you do it? But I have to be honest it was not what I sought after. But I heard it and I went into prayer, and God confirmed it for me." Her term is for two years.

Fields appeared on WestSouthwest to talk about her background and her vision as the new NAACP leader, taking over from Strick Strictland. She had most recently been first vice president. The lifelong Kalamazoo resident and Hospice of Kalamazoo of Southwest Michigan board member has a long record of activism with social justice issues. She worked for Kalamazoo County government for 39 years.

She retired five years ago in the role of home visitation advocate for maternal infant health where she worked to help reduce infant mortality, which she said is exceedingly high in the county, especially among black mothers.

Hear a longer interview here.

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