The Cameroonian US Northwest Fons Council honored Fairfax County NAACP President, Shirley Ginwright, last week. A Fon is a chief or king of a region of Cameroon. Ginwright was honored for her continuous contributions in the fight for civil rights and leadership in the community.
In 2005, several kings from the northwest area of Cameroon established the US Northwest Fons Council. The purpose of the Council is preserve, protect and promote the rich cultural values and traditions of Cameroon, and to raise funds to alleviate poverty and promote health and education in their villages. The Council consists of 23 members that include associates and supporters. They are lead by the chair, King Nganjo, and an executive director, Victor Tarkeh.
While still ruling their regions remotely, the Fons are actively communicating with organizations, churches, individuals, and businesses to educate them on the Cameroonian culture. They are also raising funds for scholarships to educate Cameroonian students. Ginwright stated that she was amazed that $50.00 would pay for one child to attend school for a year. A one-year college education is estimated at $500.00 per year. Additionally, funds are needed to help bring water, electricity, medical clinics and other developmental projects to rural areas where most of their people exist by farming or raising livestock.
Ginwright addressed the Council, and all invited guests, on issues facing the Black community and explained the NAACP's stance on the issues. While there are many issues that the NAACP focuses on she specifically identified HIV/AIDS awareness and testing, voter suppression, closing the achievement gap and the decriminalization of marijuana laws as top priorities for Fairfax County NAACP. The Council’s executive director, Victor Tarkeh, expressed the Fons desire to join and work with the NAACP in addressing these issues, as they impact their community, as well.
Ginwright said she looks at this as another opportunity to increase the visibility and work of the NAACP. “This is not just an honor for me, but an honor for the NAACP,” she stated. She continuously works to build relationships and partnerships and welcomes the US Northwest Fons Council into the fold of the NAACP.