Sydney Mitchell, a sophomore at Kansas Wesleyan University, has started on the path to her long-term goals. She was unanimously elected the first president of the NAACP Youth and College chapters in the state of Kansas at the Kansas NAACP Conference in Wichita this past fall.
“This is the start to my activism career,” said Mitchell, who is majoring in English with a Communications minor. “I’m in college to get an education to start that activism career.”
As president, she will help organize youth and college chapters throughout the state of Kansas.
Each chapter will have its own president, but she will be the president over all, she said. She also is the president of the youth chapter of the Salina NAACP.
“I’m basically the advocate for the chapters and youth,” she said. “I speak about issues involving color, women of color, college students of color.”
Her first job will be encouraging people to form chapters. Kansas doesn’t have a large population of minority students, especially in high schools and middle schools, Mitchell said.
“It can be hard for kids our age, when they’re impressionable and young, not having others of the same diversity — or having any diversity at all,” Mitchell said.
“People like me, people who are minorities, show them they can be a minority in a small place and still make a difference.”
She knows what she’s talking about. Now from Alma, Neb., she lived in Phillipsburg, Kan., for several years, as well.
“I feel my strengths are communication and I’m very, very good with people,” she said.
This job will give her a chance to meet many people. Besides traveling the state and going to state conferences, she plans to attend the NAACP National Convention in Las Vegas in July.
“She is one of our up-and-coming stars, and I have great confidence in her ability and believe she is the right person for this season of the Kansas College Chapters of the NAACP,” said Rev. Allen Smith, who nominated Mitchell for the position.
Smith is president of the Salina NAACP and advisor for strategic initiatives at Kansas Wesleyan University, as well as pastor at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Salina.
“I believe this was a great opportunity for Sydney to grow and develop her voice in the arena of social justice,” Smith said. “Her passion continues to shine through in everything she does, and I believe this will be another opportunity for her to let her light shine.”
“I’m just really excited to get started,” Mitchell said. “I am very honored and I feel very blessed that I get to represent Kansas Wesleyan, not just for Salina but for the state of Kansas.”
Story by Jean Kozubowski