Magazine article The Crisis

Lawmakers Address NAACP Convention

Magazine article The Crisis

Lawmakers Address NAACP Convention

Article excerpt

Several members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) attended the 96th annual NAACP convention to share their insight on federal legislation that could have a major impact on African Americans. Washington Bureau Chief Hilary Shelton moderated the panel, which included CBC Chair MeI Watt (D-N.C.), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Rep. Robert Scott (D-Va.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

Freshman congressman Moore set the tone for the discussion, emphasizing recent Bush administration policies that have threatened minority gains.

"We're losing ground in just our ability to survive," Moore said, as she noted issues such as the new bankruptcy and imminent domain laws, the attack on affirmative action in education and the workplace, and the efforts to change Social security. "As we look at the economic restructuring taking place, we're trying to bring a new slavery."

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee looked at the forthcoming nomination battle of the U.S. Supreme Court justice, which, she noted, could have an impact on welfare reform, affirmative action, voting rights and the death penalty. The reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act and the immigration of people of African descent should also be top priorities for NAACP activists, she said.

"I impress upon you the importance of carrying on and staying in the struggle," said Jackson Lee. "There are those out there who need the NAACP to stay in the fight."

Rep. Barbara Lee agreed as she remembered the role of the NAACP in shattering segregation in her birthplace of El Paso, Texas. It is equally important today, she explained.

"Our nation is at a defining moment," said Lee, who was the only member of Congress who did not vote for the resolution to give Bush the authority to wage war against anyone he believed was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. …

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