Magazine article The Crisis

New Vision for the NAACP

Magazine article The Crisis

New Vision for the NAACP

Article excerpt

In a gathering that was part oldtime gospel service, part rallying of the troops, several hundred NAACP convention-goers gathered for the opening public mass meeting at the 108th annual NAACP convention held at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Newly appointed interim President and CEO Derrick Johnson used the occasion to attest to the power the NAACP was and also to lay out for members the kind of work that lies ahead.

"We are here in Baltimore to affirm that in spite of any efforts ... ain't nobody gonna turn us around," he said. "We have come to Baltimore with heads yet unbowed. We have come together tonight to affirm each other and proclaim new progress for our beloved NAACP."

The NAACP's relevance is unquestionable, Johnson said. One need only look at the work the group is doing in places such as North Carolina, where the Moral Monday group, led by the Rev. William Barber III, is making sure that lawmakers remember the least of these, or Flint, Mich., where the group is working so that residents affected by toxic levels of lead in the water see justice and receive aid.

"No one can define who we are but us," Johnson said. "Our work speaks for itself."

In a wide-ranging meeting that included remembrances of former leaders and awards for staff members who give their all in NAACP outposts all over the country, one of the most touching moments was the unveiling of a statue at the Baltimore-based Great Blacks in Wax Museum in the likeness of 84-year-old activist Myrlie Evers-Williams.

"I am forever grateful to you, for you, for your interest, for your caring, and for your work," said EversWilliams via video broadcast. …

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