NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, while pointing to the ills of America that he says have been exacerbated by the administration of President George Bush, told the NAACP annual convention this week that the organization must now prioritize its own refueling and growth for "grander victories" over injustices.
NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, while pointing to the ills of America that he says have been exacerbated by the administration of President George Bush, told the NAACP annual convention this week that the organization must now prioritize its own refueling and growth for "grander victories'' over injustices.
"There is nothing more important for us to be doing right now than ending felony disenfranchisement elsewhere and registering voters. If you don't believe one vote counts, look at the Supreme Court!" Bond told the audience of thousands in prepared remarks at the 98th Annual NAACP Convention, themed "Power Beyond Measure'', in Detroit.
"But there are other things we must do too. We must make strengthening our Branches and State Conferences a first priority, building membership where it is low and insisting on activism where Branches are moribund. We must expand our outreach to and collaboration with our coalition partners - the time has long passed when we were the only soldiers in this fight. We cannot and should not go it alone."The Detroit convention hosted by the nation's largest NAACP branch, comes on the heels of a national appeal from Bond for the public to "show some love'' to the NAACP by giving money.
Interim CEO Dennis Hayes, who stepped into leadership after former Verizon executive Bruce Gordon stepped down abruptly, has announced that the organization had to cut its Baltimore headquarters staff from 119 to 70 people. He said the organization had used more than $10 million in reserves over the past three years to cover shortfalls. Gordon cited disagreements with the organization's 64-member board as a reason for his resignation. Despite financial woes, Bond, who kicked off the convention with his speech on Monday, said the civil rights battles ahead underscore the continued need for the NAACP.
"As we find ourselves re-fighting battles we thought we had already won, we are reminded that the NAACP is as needed now as ever," he said, citing surveys that show increasing belief in the work of the NAACP. "A 1993 leadership study by Brakeley, John Price Jones, Inc., showed 75 percent of Blacks believed the NAACP the leader among groups with civil rights, social justice and race relations agendas. An October 1995 US News and World Report poll reported 90 percent of Blacks supported the NAACP. In an April 1998 poll conducted by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, 81 percent of Blacks reported a favorable opinion of the NAACP."