Back in April, when residents of North Texas first began to feel the full impact of the quarantine, June Jenkins orchestrated the Collin County NAACP’s efforts to get food to people of color (POC) and people experiencing homelessness throughout the county. Responding to a global pandemic is something new, but a dedication to the Black community and POC is a recurring theme in her life.
In 2016, June was inspired to activate the Collin County chapter of NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the country. As president, she oversees efforts to help eradicate racism and discrimination in the community. That means overseeing officers and administration, and leading internal meetings, as well as working as a spokesperson and collaborating with city leaders and councils.
“The biggest impact we’ve had in Plano is working to get people engaged and involved on boards and commissions with City of Plano,” June said, “and making sure we understand the city and how it operates and how we can best use our skills and abilities to be effective in positions that can make positive changes for Black people and POC in the city.”
Last year the chapter started the Prepared to Lead, Ready to Serve program to educate Black members of the community and encourage them to run for office. “We’re looking for more diverse leadership in Plano. We need Black people running for school board and city council,” said June.
She is pleased to see the chapter grow over the past four years. “The best part,” she says, “is seeing the enthusiasm and desire of people wanting to be involved with civil rights and understanding the importance of [the Black Lives Matter movement] and challenging the status quo.”
The most difficult part of her job as president, she admits, is that it is a volunteer job, and she wishes she had the resources to do the job 24/7. This makes it even more important for her to find allies who listen and are engaged, such as Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and Plano Police Chief Ed Drain. She also stresses that people of all colors and backgrounds are welcome to join the NAACP.
Her advice to other activists? “As you are moving forward with ways to accomplish your goals, people try to distract you. Stay focused on your vision and goals. Hold true to them and move forward. It can be easy to get distracted,” June says. “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.”See All of the 2020 Girl Bosses >