Merrimack Valley Branch of the NAACP

Hands Up

We will be highlighting different members of the Merrimack Valley Branch leading to our 75th Anniversary in October 2021.


This Month- Enid Rocha 


I have been a member of the NAACP since 1979 when Cleo Jackson was president. My children Jeffrey and Roxana had no friends of color in Chelmsford when I heard that there was an NAACP youth group in Lawrence at the Third Baptist Church. So, I decided to attend the NAACP meeting and enroll both children in the youth group led by Bill Torrence.


I have always felt left out of the black community because of the areas or places I have lived. When I move back to Massachusetts from Rhode Island, by way of Indiana, I had difficulty at first obtaining a position as a teacher in the Chelmsford area. I face discrimination and racism more than ever and felt the NAACP was an excellent place to vent my feelings of dissatisfaction.  


My husband Joseph has always been an activist in the Civil Rights Movement. When we lived in Baltimore, he was active in the NAACP and participated in the Martin Luther King March in Washington DC. During that time, I became more aware of the problems that Black people faced in this country and joining the movement made me feel that I was more involved and active in the problems that we faced.


I have served in the Merrimack Valley branch as an executive board member for many years and have been the Secretary and Treasurer of the Branch. In 1990, under June Gonsalves Miles as president, the Dr. Joseph R. Rocha Jr scholarship was established at Lowell High School for Black students interested business.


It was with great honor for me to be served and recognized by the Merrimack Valley NAACP with the Samuel S Crayton Award for Community Service.


It pleases me to see today, the interest that young people have in the Black Lives Matter marches. They have come to the realization that in unity there is strength, OK as we cannot fight racism alone. They have become aware that their friends, their relatives, and people of color have always not been treated with justice and equality. They have become activist and participants in fighting the ongoing problem of systemic racism. My hope and encouragement would be to keep the movement going, don't let it stop.

* P.O. Box 5352 Bradford, MA 01835  *  Tel. (978) 566-1464  * *