NAACP 108th Annual Convention Discusses Civic Leadership in Today’s Social, Political Climate

The NAACP’s 108th Annual Convention was held this year in Baltimore, MD under the theme of “Steadfast and Immovable.” With a packed schedule of events ranging from keynote addresses. to workshops, to luncheons, the NAACP kept a captive and large audience of thousands of members with their engaging and inspiring discussions.

The convention gathered today’s influential speakers, actors, public servants, and people from all backgrounds. Notable speakers included Senator Bernie Sanders, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, Congressman Al Green, Actresses Yara Shahidi and Skai Jackson, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Kamala Harris, Attorney General Eric Holder, and many more accomplished and talented professionals.

Kicking off with the inspiring words of Reverend William Barber, attendees were motivated and called to action to defend and support Black Americans throughout the United States. Dr. Barber referred to the community as “immovable,” saying that not only will they not leave this country, but that they will not forgo the progress and development that our communities have been able to achieve. 

The opening plenary session also addressed President Donald J. Trump’s second declination of an invitation to attend the convention. This, alongside his recent speech to the National Scout Jamboree, breaks Presidential tradition previously sustained by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama during their time in office. The Reverend called the audience to rise above the darkness and to continue to thrive, flourish, and demand equity.

Keynote speaker, Iyanla Vanzant, provided remarks during the Membership Luncheon. The Membership Luncheon speaker is chosen by their engagement with the community, dedication to the mission of the NAACP, and ability to convey a strong and inspired call to action. Leon Russell, chairman of the board of the NAACP said, “The NAACP is honored to have Iyanla Vanzant as our keynote speaker… Her work and commitment to others shine a bright beacon of hope over those seeking a better life.”

She filled her time with many anecdotes about her beloved grandmother’s lessons and her special connection to the NAACP – her grandmother was a longtime member and paid for Iyanla’s membership when she was 11 years old. Her message can be summed up by the simple idea, “remember you are the sky, and everything else going on is just the weather.”

“Remember you are the sky, and everything else going on is just the weather”.Iyanla Vanzant

The afternoons consisted of an array of workshops ranging from topics of economics to civic engagement to health and wellness. Additional workshop speakers included: Trenton Allen on Environmental and Climate Justice, Jill P. Carter on Criminal Justice, Linda Elam on Health, Alex Sheldon on LGBTQ issues, Congressman Robert C. Scott on Federal Advocacy, and much more.

For more information on the conference and to learn more about the NAACP’s latest initiatives, please visit the NAACP’s convention website here.

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