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2011 National NAACP Leads the Way for A Better Life

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By Cheryl Brown –

The NAACP is in Los Angeles for the first time in 20 years celebrating their 102nd Anniversary of the theme “Affirming America’s Promise.” The session, the speakers, the events of the convention are outstanding and anyone attending can attest that the NAACP is the biggest, baddest, boldest, oldest civil right organization in the nation.

Chairman Roslyn Brock, and President an CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO gave crowd pleasing resounding speeches one on Sunday, July 24 and Monday, July 25 where in great oratorical fashion they simply brought the house down. Thousands listened as they laid out the future of the organization where it should be and where it is going.

Brock used the new movie called Help to develop her story. She said in the movie and the book one woman told her daughter that courage sometimes skips a generation. “The NAACP must ensure that courage does not skip this generation!”

She spoke of how America looks now and took to task CNN for its recently released line-up of anchors, being virtually void of people of color. She spoke about the decades of progress to open access to give every American the right to vote and the restrictive laws that are being instituted to restrict voter registration. She spoke of the critical systems that add stability to Americans lives being in trouble. Our economic system, our health care and insurance systems and our education system, again saying that we will have to take courage to address these issues. “Courage can’t skip a generation,” she said.

President Jealous asked in his keynote address, Is There a Gideon Among Us? First the good news: membership is up 24.4 percent over the first half of last year. All program departments have reopened and the organization has been steadily growing in finances and at the end of this growth for the past 3 years the financial crisis is now officially over, news that was met with jubilance.

He spoke of the great gains in our nation saying we live in the best of times and the worst of times. “We have our first Black president, our first Black CEO of a fortune 500 company, Oprah Winfrey owns her own television network. Tyler Perry owns his own movie studio and every major city has its resident Black millionaires.”

Then he spoke of the attacks that we as people of color are under right now. “All we have fought for is under attack: the right to organize, choose, be respected as an immigrant, employment and contracting opportunities, and even the right to vote itself. Our homes are disappearing, our jobs have left and will never come back.” He spoke of the great break through electing Barak Obama but also the backlash that followed. He called the attacks on voter registration and ex-felon bands Jim Crow.

“Our children cannot live in a world in which their hopes and dreams can become their realities unless we admit to ourselves that there is an especially profound crisis of discrimination and hatred directed against Black men and boys and commit ourselves to ending it.”

He continued, “The NAACP will bring to this movement what it most desperately needs: Shine a bright light on under education, discrimination, incarceration and neglect that are creating this crisis. We need the wisdom from the Book of Joshua which called upon us to raise up a generation of courage that challenges injustice, improves the community, fights for the weak and vulnerable, who is able to repent and do better and who will grow up to provide for their children and families.”

We should be like Gideon who faced an insurmountable task and kept on despite the odds. Upon Gideon’s order his 300 soldiers sounded a mighty alarm and caused the enemy to become so confused that the enemy defeated itself. “We have to ask the question is there a Gideon amongst us?

He then asked a series of questions of those who would choose to be Gideon. And told everyone to rise up like Gideon and defeat health disparities, rampant pollution, the broken criminal justice system, the crisis facing Black men and boys, Comments were swift on both speeches, “these were the best speeches I have heard,” said Pat Small, a delegate from the San Bernardino Branch.

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