NAACP's Crisis Magazine features Parrilla, Robinson

The National Advancement for the Association of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 with the idea of fighting social injustice targeted at Blacks in the so-called American Post-Emancipation era. Founded by a multiracial body of community leaders, the influential civil rights organization has gone through a number of evolutions, but has currently been dogged by insular turmoil, unstable leadership, financial mismanagement,  lagging membership and notions of irrelevancy.

Darrian Robinson and Medina Parrilla at Washington Square Park. Photo by Jennifer Shahade.

Darrian Robinson and Medina Parrilla
(Photo by Jennifer Shahade)

While the NAACP is still a fixture in the Black community, it has made attempt to ramp up its marketing efforts to increase its vibrancy. Apart from rejuvenating its image through marketing campaigns, one focus has been outreach to the youth.

The Crisis magazine is the media arm of the organization and was founded in 1910
W.E.B. DuBois, a first-rate scholar and social activist. It was the mouthpiece of the organization and has carried all the landmark cases during the civil rights era. If one looks at a Crisis magazine today, there are noticeable changes to its look and feel. There are vibrant covers and the content includes short profiles on youth.

One such profile was done on chess players
Medina Parilla and Darrian Robinson, two rising stars in American Scholastic chess. Both girls qualified to represent the U.S. in the World Youth tournament in Batumi, Georgia and it became a historic footnote. It was the first time that two Blacks had qualified at the same time. However, only Robinson and her mother, Ceneria Edwards went.  While there was support for Medina, funds were not available to send her mother.

"We hold fundraisers and sacrifice,
but for my daughter, it is worth it."

~Cenceria Edwards, mother of Darrian Robinson~

In the article, the author Curtis Stephen discusses the girls' successes, but reveals the challenging plight keep their dreams alive. Both Parrilla and Robinson have both gone on record as saying they want to be Grandmasters and have worked with perhaps one of the most popular Grandmasters in America, Maurice Ashley.

Stephen asked The Chess Drum's Daaim Shabazz about other young Black talent after which he mentioned the likes Chicago's
Kayin Barclay and Detroit's Jimmy Canty III. Shabazz mentioned the aging of the top Black players and the lack of a support system for those who seek higher heights. Even for those young players mentioned above, talent can only take them so far. Moral and financial support is also needed.

Edwards was quoted in the article as saying, "We hold fundraisers and sacrifice, but for my daughter it is worth it." The Chess Drum held a fundraiser for the two girls and almost $2000 was collected. However, that amount still was not enough. Shabazz ended by saying, "For Medina and Darrian's dreams to come true, there needs to be a support mechanism to keep the spirit burning." The burning question remains, "How will Black stars shine?"

Medina Parrilla and Darrian Robinson were featured in the July issue of the NAACPís Crisis magazine. The story was written by Curtis Stephen and highlights the success and challenges of the two new York scholastic stars.

Medina Parrilla and Darrian Robinson were featured in the July issue of the NAACP's Crisis magazine. The story was written by Curtis Stephen and highlights the success and challenges of the two new York scholastic stars.

Posted by The Chess Drum:  22 July 2007