*(LAS VEGAS) –The NAACP announced it will host its 105th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, NV from July 19th – 23rd. This year’s convention theme is “All In for Justice & Equality” and will focus on securing black turnout for the 2014 mid term election, pushing back on voter suppression efforts and the ongoing struggles for criminal justice reform, voting rights, economic opportunity and education equality, and much more.
“We are excited to hold this year’s convention in Las Vegas,” said NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. “In this pivotal election year, it is especially important for us to address voter suppression and the challenges facing communities of color and the nation as a whole. As we tackle important issues like health care, economic opportunity, education and civic engagement, we know that we cannot fully recover as a nation unless we are courageous, stand in solidarity and get out the vote. The NAACP will continue to educate, mobilize and agitate to create an informed and engaged populace and continue the work in ensuring every American has unfettered access to the ballot box.”
This convention occurs in a year of important civil rights anniversaries and milestones, including the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, and the 50th Anniversary of Freedom Summer. It also occurs on the heels of the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in the Schutte Case, as well as the devastating decision in Shelby v. Holder, which invalidated Section IV of the Voting Rights Act.
“The civil rights anniversaries this past year reminds us how far we have come, and how far we still have to go,” said NAACP Interim President & CEO, Lorraine C. Miller. “As we honor the contributions of heroes like Thurgood Marshall, Dorothy Height and Maya Angelou, we also continue to address the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration and the old Jim Crow of voter suppression. NAACP members and partners have never been content to simply memorialize historic icons; in fact, we are inspired and energized by their example for the work that lies ahead.”
Citing increased voter diversity, the NAACP also battled new attacks on equal access to education, health care and economic opportunity that effect the lives of African Americans.
This year’s convention speakers include well-known as well as the next generation of civil rights leaders, elected officials, faith leaders, actors and community activists.
“The NAACP is still the most influential and relevant voice in the fight for social justice,” stated NAACP Vice Chairman Leon Russell. “ We still face several challenges and we must continue to set the tone for those who believe that the struggle for a greater nation must continue. Our Convention must also re-emphasize the importance of civic engagement as we move into off year elections. The ability to cast an unfettered ballot that is actually counted is perhaps our greatest challenge. We thank the Tri State/State Area Conference President Jeanetta Williams for marshaling the support of all of our units in Idaho, Nevada and Utah to insure the success of this convention. We are particularly grateful to the Las Vegas Branch of the NAACP for working with us to host this 105th Annual Convention. Our mission is to define the civil rights agenda for this century, just as we have done since our founding.”
“The future of voting rights and equal access to education is being threatened; but our national and state conferences must hold strong,” said NAACP Tri State Conference President of Idaho, Nevada and Utah, Jeanetta Williams. “This year’s convention is essential as we map out strategies to continue to fight attacks on our civil rights. We will join with others across the country to protect rights most sacred in our democracy. As one nation, we must be all in for justice and equality.”
“We in the Las Vegas Branch of the NAACP are pleased to welcome and privileged to host the 2014 NAACP National Convention,” said Frank Hawkins, NAACP Las Vegas Branch President. “As we continue the fight for equality and social justice for all Americans, our Branch and the Las Vegas community extend every hospitality and want to ensure a positive and meaningful experience for all members and participants.”
In addition to the primary convention schedule, the NAACP’s Youth & College Division will host workshops, luncheons and forums throughout the week. Emerging youth from across the nation will be featured in the annual Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition beginning July 17. Students will compete in 26 categories including sciences, humanities, performing arts, visual arts, and business over the course of the event. Famous ACT-SO alumni include musician Kanye West, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, filmmaker John Singleton and comedian Anthony Anderson.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our five “Game Changer” issue areas here.
Dana Vickers Shelley