POCATELLO — Idaho Purce may be a Gate City native, but the inspiration for her name had nothing to do with the Gem State.
In fact, the woman was named after her older sister “Ida” who did not live very long.
Tonight, the member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will be recognized at the Pocatello branch’s Freedom Fund banquet at the Clarion Inn, 1399 Bench Rd. The public is welcome to attend starting at 6:30 p.m., and tickets will be available for purchase at the door.
The guest speaker will be Idaho State Rep. Cherie Buckner Webb, District 19.
In a question-and-answer session Purce had this to say:
Q. What exactly is your involvement with the NAACP?
A. “I am a member and have served in several different capacities over the years. As the education chairman, I had a hand in the production of a video called ‘Pocatello African Americans: A Community within a Community.’ In the same role, I have been working this year to oversee an HIV/AIDS education campaign. The goal is to spread awareness within the African American community, as well as within the communities of other minorities.”
Q. What are your thoughts on being the first recipient of the new John Purce President’s Award?
A. “The honor stirs up a lot of emotion as the award is named after my husband who passed away in May. I am very pleased with the idea of having this annual award now in the mix. I know that John would be very honored to have this award named after him. He put his heart and soul into the NAACP group over the years. He thought it was such an invaluable organization for all people, not just African-Americans. John has served as president of the group several times. He was very committed.”
Q. Do you agree that the NAACP is an invaluable organization?
A. “As long as there are individuals who feel disenfranchised based on their race or color of their skin there will be a need for an organization like this. We need to ensure that people who feel as though they don’t have a voice have someone to go to for help. We are here to be their advocate. Overall, I think the NAACP branch in Pocatello has made this community a better place to live and raise children.”
Q. How much do you think our society has progressed since the African-American Civil Rights Movement from 1955-1968?
A. “Racism is still out there. It continues to permeate. I, personally, think education is the key to putting a stop to this. Children should be taught about human rights at the elementary level. This somehow needs to be a part of the curriculum that is taught so that children learn to have tolerance for others who are different from them based on their race or religion. I know there are teaching segments devoted to learning about people of the world, but what about people we see in every day life? Babies are not born racist.”