NAACP Honors Dr. James Gatling

Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Waterbury Republican American
Waterbury, CT

At least five of the "100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut" named this past weekend by the state arm of the NAACP had Waterbury roots — an indication the city supports African-American success, one of the winners said.

The event, which included a luncheon and an address by Derrick Johnson, president of the Mississippi NAACP State Conference, was part of the annual state convention that took place in New Haven.

"The criteria is helping people in the community, having an influence and making a difference in people's lives," said Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick, one of the honorees. "It's about helping people do better in our lives. I believe that's what God has ordained for us."

Another honoree, state Rep. Larry B. Butler, D-72nd District, noted Waterbury was "well represented" on the list.

"The African-American community has been working very well together and their families and many people in the community have given them great support over the years," he said. "Hopefully it will inspire some young people to come and do just as well and exceed the great accolades these people actually deserved."

Others on the list included James H. Gatling, president and chief executive officer of New Opportunities of Waterbury Inc., Kevin Johnson, state president of the Elks, and Stratford Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour, who was the highest-ranking African-American Waterbury police officer before joining the Stratford force.

"We are thrilled to honor African-American men and women in Connecticut who are making a difference in our communities," State NAACP President Scot X. Esdaile said in a prepared statement.

"From education to entertainment, law enforcement to legislators, this represents some of the best and brightest who are leading the charge for change in the state."


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