Lawrence Street at an event commemorating "Loving Day" at Riverhead Free Library in June. File photo: Denise Civiletti

The NAACP Eastern Long Island Branch has a new president: Lawrence Street of Riverhead was elected to the post Nov. 23, succeeding longtime president Lucius Ware.

Street, 65, will be installed as president in January. He is currently board treasurer.

Ware, who decided to step down from the president’s post, will remain on the organization’s executive board as its first vice president, Street said.

Bernice Brown of Aquebogue will succeed Street as treasurer.

The Eastern Long Island Branch is a chapter of the national organization, which was established in 1909 to advance justice for African Americans.

“I’m excited about It,” Street said in a phone interview yesterday. “There’s a lot I want to do to take it to another level.”

He plans to embark on a membership drive to expand the organization’s base. The Eastern Long Island Branch takes in the five East End towns and Street believes its membership can be boosted significantly.

“We will work to fulfill the mission of the NAACP on the East End — to be an advocate for equality in jobs, education, health care and the criminal justice system and protecting voting rights,” Street said.

He said he wants to focus on institutional racism in particular and “making sure there’s some color in town government.”

Street, a Riverhead native, who lived for some years in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is an educator and activist. He is a member of the Riverhead Town Anti-Bias Task Force, the East End Voters Coalition and Erase Racism.

“I want to get the younger generation involved, including teens, to educate them about what the organization stands for and what we do,” Street said.

The NAACP is the nation’s largest and most widely recognized civil rights organization. It has more than a half-million members and supporters internationally. NAACP members advocate for civil rights in their communities, leading grassroots campaigns for equal opportunity and conducting voter mobilization, according to the organization’s website.

The Eastern Long Island Branch meets on the third Saturday of every month, he said.

“I’d like to bring the meetings back to Riverhead,” Street said. “It’s more centrally located.” The meetings have been held in Southampton in recent years, he said.

Correction: This story originally misstated the office currently held by Lawrence Street and being assumed by Bernice Brown in January. She will be installed as treasurer, not secretary, of the NAACP Eastern Long Island Branch.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.