ELIZABETH, NJ – The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a lot of change throughout the world. However, for newly elected President of the Elizabeth Chapter of the NAACP Shawn McClain, the pandemic has been an eye-opening experience, leading to a personal revelation to get even more involved in the community he loves.

“Many people during this pandemic have lost loved ones, from family members and friends to neighbors and coworkers,” McClain said. “It has truly done a lot of damage to the people within the community around us and all over the world.”

On May 3, 2020, McClain lost a close friend and fraternity member, Dr. Gerald Eugene Glisson, Principal of Paterson Eastside High School, which led McClain to nominate himself for President of the NAACP in Elizabeth.

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“It was he who inspired me to make a greater impact here in my own town, the City of Elizabeth,” McClain said. “I decided I wanted to continue his legacy and honor his spirit in servicing my community.”

McClain’s friendship with Glisson dates back to the Spring of 1994 when the two were students at Delaware State University and had become members of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. 

“We had a 12-member line, me being 11 and him being 12…Every month, we acknowledged each other on the day of our specific line number,” McClain said. 

Ironically, the NAACP election was held on January 12, 2021. 

“I dedicated that particular day to Dr. Gerald Eugene Glisson, and it was that day that I was elected through the grace of God, as the first person in my family to become President of the NAACP,” McClain said.

McClain is hoping to make an impact in Elizabeth that will be remembered forever.

He said: “In my new role as President, I am hoping to unite all of the leaders in Elizabeth and its surrounding areas to come together on one matter - - to fight for social justice...Rest in Heaven, Dr. Gerald Eugene Glisson.  I will continue your legacy.”

McClain will be sworn in as President at a private ceremony on Saturday in Elizabeth.