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Student Veteran Organization and NAACP to raise money for returning service personnel

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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Student Veteran Organization (SVO) chapters on campus have united to put together an open mic, poetry and talent show.

The show’s purpose is to raise funds to meet the needs of veterans on campus, said Tamir Lawson, 30, the outgoing president for the NAACP CSUN chapter.

“The reason the NAACP is inspired to help is in response to a lot of minority veterans coming back from war and military who don’t know about their options,” said Lawson, political science major and Marines veteran. “They are at a significant disadvantage.”

A $3 donation is requested to attend the show. For a $10 donation, a download card for the music of featured artist, Shahaidah Omar, will be gifted and for a $13 donation, a CD of Omar’s new album, “Freedom” will be given.

The guest list is composed of a diverse group of celebrities and politicians, Lawson said. They include Miss Bel Air Grace Ayorinde, Owen Smith, a former Saturday Night Live writer, Bruce Atomatic, who produced music with Michael Jackson, Mitchell Royal, R&B artist, and the staff of California Senator Barbara Boxer.

There will be a pre-list sign-up for the open mic for any one who would like to perform on stage.

Freshman Tyler Thomas, mathematics major, was not aware of the show but after hearing about it he was enthusiastic.

“It sounds pretty cool,” Thomas said. “I will definitely check it out.”

Jorge Macias, construction management major, was also unaware of the show but said it sounded like something he would like to do.

“If I wasn’t working I’d probably go,” Macias said.

Lawson said he understands the vast needs of student veterans who are trying to reintegrate themselves into a normal lifestyle.

Lawson, who is also a member of SVO, joined the Marines right after high school and was medically retired in 2007 after he suffered a traumatic brain injury.

“There is a lot of disconnection on campus,” Lawson said. “Veterans are much older, some are disabled and there is another host of issues.”

It was for that reason that the SVO was founded. The group helps students create pamphlets that openly discuss issues such as traumatic brain injuries and other traumas.

The SVO sponsors events such as Riot to Recovery and is also planning on sending care packs to troops that are overseas, and a welcome home event.

Lawson said the NAACP has a history of supporting veterans and has hundreds of thousands of dollars ready to help finance veteran programs. Each year it hosts a dinner to honor the military.

Lawson recalled the situation of a veteran from New York who had grown up in the projects. When he returned from the military his family could not help him because they were poor.

“He needed help and he couldn’t support himself,” Lawson said.

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