PARIS, Texas---The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced today that Campbell Soup Company’s (NYSE:CPB) Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Rosalyn Taylor O’Neale will serve as grand marshal of the Martin Luther King (MLK) day parade, to be held here on January 16.
“For the Paris community, 2009 was a year marked by high racial tensions”
Organized by the local chapter of the NAACP, this year’s MLK day parade will be themed “Unity in the Community.” A number of city and county officials will participate in the parade, including Mayor Jesse Freeland, City Council Members, Sheriff BJ McCoy, Police Chief Bob Huntley and Fire Chief Grooms. The NAACP expects more than 1,000 people to attend the fifth annual parade.
A series of incidents in 2009 sparked racial tensions in the Paris community. In early 2009, U.S. Department of Justice officials attempted to moderate tensions between whites and African Americans in the east Texas town.
“For the Paris community, 2009 was a year marked by high racial tensions,” said Reverend James Price, President, NAACP-Paris Chapter. “This year’s MLK Day parade provides an ideal venue for us to find common ground among all residents of our community. In addition to celebrating the life and accomplishments of Dr. King, we are hopeful that the parade will be another step in uniting our community. The NAACP recognizes that this journey must include the whole community—residents, city leaders and corporate citizens such as Campbell Soup Company and others.”
Campbell has operated a plant in Paris since 1964 and employs approximately 1,000 people. The company and its employees have been actively involved in many community initiatives, including the local United Way campaign and numerous grants awarded through the Campbell Soup Foundation to local nonprofit organizations. O’Neale, 59, has spent more than 20 years leading global diversity efforts across a range of industries and cultures. During her career, she has been a corporate executive, business leader, consultant and author.
O’Neale said, “I am the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King's work and am truly honored to represent Campbell Soup Company on this day of unity as we celebrate the life and dreams of Dr. King. Campbell has long been an active participant in Paris, and we are committed to contributing to the advancement of the city. As a company whose products are enjoyed by people of all races and from all walks of life, we recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion in all facets of our company and business.”
The parade will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Jan. 16 at the MLK Church of Christ, 195 MLK Drive and will proceed to the Saint Paul Baptist Church 454 2nd Street, where O’Neale, Rev. Price and Police Chief Huntley will address the audience.
Campbell will provide parade goers with free soup, Pepperidge Farm products and V8 juices following the parade at St. Paul Church.
About the NAACP
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.
About Campbell Soup Company
Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high-quality foods and simple meals, including soup, baked snacks, and healthy beverages. Founded in 1869, the company has a portfolio of market-leading brands, including “Campbell’s,” “Pepperidge Farm,” “Arnott’s,” and “V8.” For more information on the company, visit Campbell’s website atwww.campbellsoup.com.