Pastor Michelle Thomas receives NAACP gavel

Loudoun County NAACP outgoing president Phillip Thompson, right, prepares to give the gavel to incoming president Pastor Michelle C. Thomas on Jan. 12.

The new executive committee of the Loudoun County chapter of the NAACP was formally installed at a ceremony Saturday night at First Mt. Olive Baptist Church.

County residents and elected officials braved the snowy night to celebrate the new executive committee and outgoing members, as well as to affirm the importance of the NAACP’s mission.

“The truth is, for generations now, the NAACP has been the moral compass of this country, and now more than ever we need a moral compass in this country, and the NAACP has been that,” Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) said. “Loudoun’s NAACP has been led strong for years, and I am so thrilled that my friend for years is now becoming the new president of this branch.”

Circuit Court Clerk Gary Clemens (R) administered the oaths to the executive committee officers and then to the new president, Pastor Michelle Thomas.

Attorney General Mark Herring (D), Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.-10th), Del. David Reid (D-32nd), Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Easton McDonald and Leesburg Police Department Chief Greg Brown shared congratulatory remarks and said they looked forward to continuing to work with Thomas and the NAACP.

Wexton recounted Thomas’ work in acquiring the land of the former Belmont Plantation’s African-American burial ground for the enslaved. The congresswoman said she was at first concerned Thomas wouldn’t be successful in getting the property from Toll Brothers. Wexton said she clearly underestimated Thomas.

“She had them eating out of the palm of her hand in no time and got amazing things accomplished and really did some great work. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot more to be done, but fortunately for Leesburg and Loudoun, and fortunately for all of us, we have Pastor Michelle on the job,” Wexton said.

Thomas and the NAACP recognized outgoing president Phillip Thompson for his service, and Thompson passed on the gavel to Thomas. Thompson said under Thomas’ leadership, Loudoun is in for “another couple years of strong advocacy for what is right.”

Thomas said change does not happen by itself, and it takes partnership and collaborations. She said she’s here to lobby for policies and looks forward to doing so in a bipartisan fashion.

“We have a job to do. This is not the time to back up, this is not the time to turn around, this is not the time to make excuses, this is the time to go forward together,” Thomas said.

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