Dr. James Yizar is an Executive Board Member of the Pocatello NAACP.  

The NAACP works to help people who are, in Yizar’s words, “being denied participating in society equally.” Examples include a lack of opportunities for employment, housing, voting, and justice under the law because of race.

In Bannock County (the branch’s target area) employment issues and a lack of housing access are main concerns. The relationship between law enforcement and the criminal justice system with people of color is also an issue, says Yizar.

The Pocatello branch of the NAACP has members of a variety of ethnicities, Yizar says. More people have become involved since instances police brutality have risen to the public eye. Such instances include the murder of George Floyd.

“People understand that ‘I can’t stay comfortable. I am uncomfortable because of what has happened (so) now I know that I have to do something,’” Yizar said.  

Because more people are willing to acknowledge uncomfortable issues, Yizar is hopeful that change will come. He encourages those who want fight racism to stand up when they see injustice.

“We truly need to be our neighbor’s keeper in this particular movement,” Yizar said.

Yizar feels grateful as he reflects on the life of Martin Luther King Jr. He credits the opportunities to attend a predominantly white institution and to move out of his past environment to the civil rights movement that King revolutionized.

“I have as much opportunity to be successful as someone who doesn’t look like me,” Yizar said.

However, the executive board member emphasizes that there is still more to be done.

“We can’t feel comfortable with what we were able to accomplish when Dr. King was leading our civil rights movement, because we are currently in a civil rights movement,” Yizar said.

More information about the Pocatello NAACP can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Pocatello.Branch.NAACP//. Those who are interested in becoming members can email pocatellonaacp@live.com.