Wednesday, July 11, 2007

NAACP 98th Annual Convention

For those who have any interest, the NAACP Convention is being broadcast live and Memorex via streaming at the following site:

NAACP 98th National Convention.

The theme of this year's convention is a message that just about all Black folks should be able to sign onto:

Power Beyond Measure

A lot of it is same old same old and I could write many essays about my disappointments in the approach of the national leadership of the NAACP on a number of issues. (The selection of Michael Chertoff as keynote speaker for this year's convention being amongst them.) Yet I dutifully renew my annual membership each year, out of hope, because the individual grassroots local members and chapters do manage to accomplish great things in the grassroots. For example, local leaders like the young brother from Pittsburgh who during the Youth Leadership plenary this morning is reminding us of the old folks' wisdom about how to reach and engage the grassroots that a lot of us ossified old folks who have political power and status keep forgetting:
People want to know how much you care, before they care how much you know.

Amen to that. These young activists (from Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Houston, Detroit, and other cities) are kicking ass and taking no prisoners. And making it plain that it is time for us to "bury the expectation that America will ever address [our] needs better than we can do it ourselves." It's a great way to start a morning, in a country where as one of the youth speaking this morning noted, more than 70% of adult Black males in urban areas today fall into one of two categories: unemployed, or under criminal justice supervision.

Despite my issues with the NAACP (funerals for words are just stupid, and the percentage of corporate sponsors of the convention who have long-established histories, including in case precedent, of racial discrimination in employment against Black workers is shocking) it at present remains the most established vehicle for Black activists to mobilize and be heard. So I highly recommend the Convention for all those who want to know what Black people who are not on TV all the time actually think and feel.

(I am particularly interested in the Republican Candidates forum tomorrow -- moderated by Soledad O'Brien and Russ Mitchell. That ought to be good. Or at least entertaining. ;))


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