Monday, July 10, 2006
NAACP 97th Annual Convention in Washington, DC, July 15th - 20th, 2006
NAACP Press Release July 6, 2006:
Voting Our Values, Valuing Our Votes
97TH Annual Convention opens July 15 in the nation's capital.
Several thousand delegates and visitors from around the nation are expected to attend the 97th Annual National Association for the Advancement of Colored People National Convention, July 15-20 at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center. This marks the seventh time the NAACP has held its annual convention in the nation's capital. The theme of this year's convention is "Voting Our Values, Valuing Our Votes."
NAACP President and CEO Bruce S. Gordon said: "I look forward to my first convention as President and CEO of this great organization. African Americans have made great strides in this country, but there are still civil rights battles to be fought. The attempt by some members of Congress to stall a vote on extending the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is just one example of why the NAACP must continue to exist and to prosper."
NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond said: "Our annual conventions bring together committed civil rights activists from across the nation to re-charge their batteries and to learn new techniques in fighting old evils. We’ll stress the importance of valuing our votes and will leave Washington determined to vote our values."
Convention highlights include the historic re-presentation of " The Great Tablet" at John Brown's Fort at Harper's Ferry in West, Virginia; daily tours to the African American Civil Rights Museum; a health symposium on HIV/AIDS; keynote addresses by Julian Bond and Bruce S. Gordon; the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the NAACP Youth and College Division; a legislative session on the "Voting Rights Act Reauthorization;" Continuing Legal Education and health workshops and the Spingarn Awards Dinner honoring Dr. Benjamin S. Carson.
Roslyn Brock, Vice Chair, NAACP National Board of Directors and Chairman of the Convention Planning Committee, said: "The NAACP Board Convention Planning Committee looks forward to welcoming delegates and friends to the 97th Annual NAACP Convention. This year's theme speaks to the many heartaches, the tears and blood that were shed in the fight for full citizenship rights. We cannot and will not be turned back."
Speakers scheduled at this year's convention include Senators Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Sam Brownback; Representatives Mel Watt, Chairman of the Black Congressional Caucus, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Charles B. Rangel, Donald Payne and Robert C. Scott; Judge Greg Mathis, Dr. J. Edward Hill, president, American Bar Association, the Honorable Barbara Masakela, South African Ambassador to the United States and actor Isaiah Washington.
ACT-SO (Academic Cultural Technical Science Olympics) competitions begin July 14 at the Hyatt Regency, Crystal City and culminate with an awards ceremony on July 16th at the Convention Center.
Habitat for Humanity International will construct a new home inside the Convention Center and present the keys to a family left homeless by Hurricane Katrina. The home will be moved to Houston after the convention.
Opening day features a health symposium that will explore ways to mobilize black America around the HIV/AIDS crisis. Speakers will include Delegate Donna M. Christensen (Virgin Is.), Chair, Congressional Black Caucus Health Task Force; Dr. Gail Wyatt, Associate Director, UCLA AIDS Institute, Phill Wilson, Executive Director, Black AIDS Institute and Debra Fraser-Howse, President and CEO, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. Later that day, the Health Advocacy Lunch will feature a screening of "Faces," a gritty documentary by Bill Duke that explores the staggering rate of HIV/AIDS in the black community. The documentary explores the "down low" phenomenon and features interviews with HIV/AIDS victims and prominent leaders such as Bruce S. Gordon and Julian Bond.
A "Knowledge is Power" workshop will provide NAACP members with information and tools to help reach the goal of increasing African American voter turnout in 2006 by 5 percent above the 2002 levels. "The 411 on the 5-0" is a workshop that will focus on ways in which youth and adults can implement a plan to address police brutality. "The No Child Left Behind Act/Elementary and Secondary Education Act and School Accountability" workshop will examine accountability aspects of NCLB from the perspective of college preparedness, teacher quality and resource equity. The criminal justice workshop "Roadblocks to Re-Entry" will look at the social, financial and educational barriers to re-entry and the role of the community in assisting former felons re-entering the mainstream and reducing recidivism.
The NAACP Continuing Legal Education seminars will offer legal strategy and discuss issues that include civil rights litigation, government spying, use of DNA to free innocent defendants, the criminal justice system, police misconduct and voting rights. The keynote speaker at the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Memorial Lecture Luncheon is the Honorable Alexander Williams Jr., Associate Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.
Women in the NAACP (WIN) will hold an international fashion show and brunch on Sunday, July 16 at the Renaissance Hotel. The Religious Leaders Luncheon on Monday, July 17 will feature the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, Senior Pastor of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, as guest speaker.
On Tuesday, July 18, Dick Gregory will be the keynote speaker at the National Membership Luncheon. On Tuesday evening, the annual Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Dinner will be held at the Renaissance Hotel. The National Guard will be the honored guest and the keynote speaker is Lt. General H. Steven Blum, Chief, National Guard Bureau. Under Secretary of Defense David S.C. Chu will deliver greetings.
The 70th anniversary of the NAACP Youth and College Division will be observed on Wednesday, July 19. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. will be the Roy Wilkins Youth Leadership Luncheon speaker. The Youth Freedom Fund Awards Dinner is Wednesday night with Rep. Barbara Lee as guest speaker. Singers Leela James and Mario will be the featured entertainment at the Youth Freedom Fund Awards Dinner.
The NAACP National Board of Directors will hold their quarterly meeting on Thursday, July 20 in the Convention Center Ballroom.
An annual feature of recent conventions, the two-day NAACP Diversity Job Fair will be held in the Program Information Exchange Center and is open to the public. Attendees can meet potential employers in the areas of sales, healthcare, finance, computer engineering, retail, restaurant and government.
Exhibiters will display a range of products, services and activities at the 37th Annual Commerce & Industry Show that opens July 15 with a ribbon cutting at 2 p.m.
A gospel extravaganza on Wednesday, July 19 will feature music by the Williams Brothers, Choir Boyz and Ralph Hearnden. Other entertainment during the convention will be provided by the Ailey II Dance Troupe and the O'Jays.
The convention closes with the annual Freedom Fund/Spingarn Awards Presentation. The Spingarn Award, the NAACP's highest honor, will be presented to Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, director of pediatric neurosurgery and co-director of the Craniofacial Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.