Legislation needs approval in U.S. Senate, president’s signature

Staff Reports | Ventura County Star

An effort to name an Oxnard post office after a local civil rights leader took one step forward last week after passage of a bill in the U.S. House.

Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake, introduced the legislation to name the building at 1961 N. C St. as the John R. Hatcher, III Post Office Building, according to a news release. The bill passed Thursday on a vote of 348 for, 63 against and five present.

Hatcher was a member of the NAACP for more than 60 years, nearly four decades of which he served as founder and president of the Ventura County Chapter. 

“John was a fearless advocate for the people and the community that he loved so deeply,” Brownley said in the release. “He was integral to the empowerment of Black Americans throughout Ventura County through the numerous organizations he founded and established, which continue to carry on his legacy of social justice and racial equality to this day.”

The bill must still go before the U.S. Senate for approval and to President Joe Biden’s desk for signing. Brownley said she would continue her work to get the bill to become law.

Hatcher was born on April 19, 1932, in Birmingham, Alabama, and followed his father’s footsteps into civil rights. The younger Hatcher would go on to serve 22 years in the U.S. Air Force before taking a civilian post with the Department of the Navy. He called Oxnard home for decades until his death Nov. 3, 2017.  

Hatcher stood at the forefront of local race issues, calling for greater scrutiny of law enforcement agencies over concerns about racial profiling, according to news reports. For 20 years, he also produced a local access TV show called “What’s going on?”

Among his many accomplishments, the civil rights leader is credited with helping to the get Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s name on a school in the Oxnard School District and the founding of Tri-County Sentry newspaper.

“We are truly honored for this incredible tribute,” said JoAnne E. Hatcher, John’s widow, previously about the legislation. “My husband, John, would be so proud to know that his work did not go unnoticed.”

This story was originally published by Ventura County Star on July 17, 2022.

Issues: , ,