NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson and Leon W. Russell, Chairman of the Board of Directors, welcomed between eight to ten thousand people gathered in Atlantic City to commemorate the NAACP’s 113th National Convention from July 14-20, 2022. The theme for the convention was #ThisIsPower.
For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, the nation’s most prominent advocacy and social justice organization brought together elected officials, activists, organizers, faith leaders, and entertainers for workshops to discuss the most pressing issues facing Black communities today. Discussion and workshop topics included voter suppression, student debt loan forgiveness, police brutality and reproductive rights.
The goal of the convention was to determine the NAACP’s policy agenda priorities for fiscal year 2022-23. It was enlightening to participate as the delegate from the Freeport branch in the resolutions and voting process.
The ultimate highlight of this year’s convention was a special in-person message delivered to the delegation by United States Vice-President Kamala D. Harris. She is the first female vice president and the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history, as well as the first African American and first Asian American vice president. She previously served as the attorney general of California and as a United States senator representing California.
Representative James E. Clyburn, Majority Whip, U.S. House of Representatives (SC) received the Spingarn Medal which is a gold medal awarded annually by the NAACP, since 1915, to honor “the man or woman of African descent and American citizenship who shall have made the highest achievement during the preceding year or years in any honorable field” (as it was phrased when the award was founded)
Other Special Speakers included, Senator Cory Booker, U.S. Senate (NJ); Rep. Ro Khanna, U.S. House of Representatives (CA); Marcia Fudge, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor; Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice; Maya Wiley, President & CEO, The Leadership Council on Civil & Human Rights; Ray Curry, President of United Auto Workers; Nile Evans, Executive Producer and Showrunner of MTV’s Wild ‘N Out; and Tishawn Smikle, Producer of MTV’s Wild ‘N Out.
The State of Illinois received 10 ACT-SO Awards (Academic-Cultural-Technological-Scientific Olympics). Every ACT-SO student must be a member of the NAACP.
Attending the 113th NAACP National Convention was a wonderful experience. I was encouraged by what our peer branches are accomplishing throughout the country. I was proud to represent the Freeport Branch. And I am grateful to the Freeport branch for this opportunity.
The 114th National Convention will take place in Boston, Massachusetts. I encourage all members to consider attending the national convention next year.