IW NAACP postpones 75th anniversary celebration

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Isle of Wight County’s NAACP chapter has postponed its 75th anniversary celebration on account of rising COVID-19 cases.

The celebration was to coincide with the Isle of Wight NAACP’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Banquet, which had been scheduled for Jan. 16 at 3 p.m. in The Smithfield Center. Akilah Frye, a senior at Smithfield High School, was to have been the event’s guest speaker.

Chapter President Valerie Butler announced the event’s cancellation on Dec. 24 via Facebook, citing an abundance of caution for the health and safety of attendees in light of the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus and the risks posed by its heavily-mutated omicron variant.

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The Virginia Department of Health has confirmed 16 omicron cases statewide since Dec. 9. The variant has a large number of mutations, particularly on the spike protein it uses to attach to human cells.

The VDH has reported only one case in its Eastern Region, which includes Isle of Wight County. But early studies suggest omicron may be even more vaccine-evasive than the highly-contagious delta variant, which currently accounts for the majority of Eastern Region COVID-19 cases.

Full refunds will be made to anyone who purchased tickets to the banquet, according to Butler’s post.