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Paducah NAACP Vice President Gives Seminar Encouraging And Directing Local Activism

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screenshot
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via facebook

McCracken County Library hosted a virtual seminar Wednesday with Paducah’s NAACP Vice President Corbin Snardon. The seminar was organized in response to state and nationwide protests and racial tensions and focused on proposing strategies for local activism. 

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Corbin Snardon (left) is an educator and community advocate. Paducah has been his home for the last 10 years. Currently serving as Asst. Principal at the Paducah Innovation Hub. He is also the 2nd Vice President of the Paducah-McCracken Co. NAACP where he is chair of the Education Committee.

According to Snardon, the inspiration for his presentation was a quote by recently passed civil rights activist John Lewis. 

“If you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, then you have a moral obligation to do something about it.” - John Lewis

 

When it comes to protesting, Snardon instructs organizers to have a clear request and goal set out they intend to accomplish by protesting. He referenced the Breonna Taylor protests in Louisville, saying it’s a good example of protesting for a specific action to be taken. 

“You need to have a plan going forward. In the case of someone like Breonna Taylor, we want justice for that. Her family and the people that killed her, need to see their day in court. That's the ask. That's what people want,” Snardon said. “Too often we want to see something fixed, we just don't know what we want. So, when we organize that, we plan that out, it helps out a ton when I'm able to communicate it effectively and be organized. After you organize, you got to activate, you've got to get people actually doing something.” 

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Credit screenshot / via McCracken Co. Library Facebook Page
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via McCracken Co. Library Facebook Page

Snardon defines activists and individuals who can get other people to be physically active for their cause. He said this does not mean encouraging people to become “Facebook warriors.” He said able-body people supporting a cause should have “boots on the ground.”

“You need people actually out there to be able to communicate, and you need a variety of people. I cannot stress that enough. You really need a variety of people who can represent you in the boardroom,” Snardon said. 

Snardon said facts are crucial to solving problems. He said being informed is the key wiser decision maker. 

“I have to act from a place of factual information to be able to make an informed decision. If I know that it's going to rain tomorrow, I tend to wear rain boots, I tend to take an umbrella, wear a rain jacket, something like that,” Snardon said. “But if I'm just kind of going with the flow, and I get caught in the rain, I can't be mad if I'm wet. So, that is the way I'm looking at things with community organizations.”

However, he warns misinformation is rampant on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Snardon said being misinformed is much worse than not being informed at all. He suggests getting information from the original source if possible. 

“It's one thing to feel a certain way about something, but understanding the issue behind it actually helps you to be able to solve things,” Snardon said. “ I like to think of getting information straight from the horse's mouth if you can. If you have an issue that is with the city or the county, go to the city or county's website and look through what they have to say about an issue.”

The next key to strategy to practicing successful activism, according to Snardon, is mobilization.  He said this is described as sustaining people’s activity for the cause.

“You are enacting your plan and your progress. You are monitoring that. You're seeing if you’re being successful and asking is this work being done the way that you think that it should be done?” Snardon said. “Especially in the times we're in now where we're dealing with a unique societal climate and things are very testy, I encourage you, if you're gonna do anything at all, make sure that you're putting some energy and some effort into it.” 

However, Snardon said he does understand not every person can be “boots on the ground,” especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Snardon suggests these members of the community support non-profits. Snardon recommends local nonprofits helping to fight food insecurity such as Paducah Cooperative Ministries, Starfish Orphan Ministry, and local churches.

 

 

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Snardon shared support to those working toward a better Paducah. He said the community needs to share appreciation for each other and practice patience. Snardon said he is playing the “long game” and encourages his allies to embrace the challenge.

“We’re playing chess, not checkers. It's a long game. It is not something that gets fixed overnight,” Snardon said. “But we look at the events like the 1963 March on Washington, or the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education. We look at those landmark events, forgetting that it was years before those things took place. You have to embrace that. You have to be able to embrace frustration.”

 

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Credit screenshot / via McCracken Co. Library Facebook page
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via McCracken Co. Library Facebook page

Hannah is a Murray State Journalism major. She found her place in radio during her second year in Murray. She is from Herndon, KY, a small farming community on the Kentucky/Tennessee stateline.
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