ADVOCACY: Speaking Out on Policies That Count
By Lynda Seward, NAACP on November 5, 2018
Formed in 1909, by a multiracial group of progressive thinkers, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a non-profit organization established with the objective of ensuring the political, educational, social and economic equality of minority groups.
As the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, the NAACP has worked successfully with allies of all races who believe in and stand for the principles on which the organization was founded. We are represented in 2,200 branches and units all across this country in 50 states, in every large city, hundreds and hundreds of small towns, and in 60 global military installations, and always welcome new members and supporters. With over 2.2 million digital activists, we have more young people in the NAACP than any other young person’s civil rights organization in the country combined.
Since 1909, it can be noted that NAACP members marched before marching for civil rights was an acceptable norm; successfully sued for fairness when no one thought to ask courts for equality; appeared before state and federal legislatures with compelling objections to racial abuses; helped internationalize the struggle for civil rights by lobbying the United Nations; and persistently insisted on equality in every aspect of American life in order to make the American charter a true contract of freedom.
Through our 501c3 national infrastructure, the NAACP helps shape national, state and local policy through advocacy programs that build awareness and lays a foundation of understanding to promote vital changes in:
- ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: We push for legislation that promotes livable wages, reduce poverty levels, ends discrimination in employment, promote development and expansion of minority-owned businesses and economic reciprocity.
- POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT: The NAACP believes that every American should have free, open, equal, and protected access to the vote and fair representation at all levels of the political process. The right to vote is a civic sacrosanct being desecrated in our Democracy. The reinstatement of the Voting Rights Act, repeal of Citizens United and reform of campaign contributions are high priorities for the NAACP. The NAACP works to protect the right to vote. Without which, America is at risk of having elections with donors and not voters.
- ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE JUSTICE: The NAACP works to reduce harmful emissions rates, with an emphasis on greenhouse gases; advancing energy efficiency and clean energy alternatives while supporting “go-green” employment opportunities; and preserve and increase the quality life within communities. When low income communities and communities of color bear a great portion of the hazardous waste and impact of climate change ravaging their neighborhoods, NAACP advocacy elevates climate change from a debated term to a social justice issue.
- EDUCATION: We strive to ensure that all students have access to an equal and high-quality public education by eliminating education-related racial and ethnic disparities in our public schools.
- PUBLIC SAFETY/CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM: The NAACP advocates for a better public safety system that reduces prisons as a means of solving social problems, advances effective law enforcement and community relations, removes barriers for employment for formerly incarcerated people, and not rely on the death penalty.
- HEALTH CARE: The NAACP is committed to eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in our health care system. We focus on advocacy and policy work that focus on Health and Wellness fitness, nutrition and activity, Childhood Obesity, HIV/AID awareness and prevention, and supporting ACA Healthcare Reform.
- YOUTH DEVELOPMENT: A hallmark of our commitment to educational achievement is the NAACP youth enrichment program Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO). This year-long achievement program fosters high academic and cultural achievement among African-American and many other ethnic high school students through competition in the STEM sciences, humanities, business, culinary and performing arts. The annual ACT-SO competition is a combination of Westinghouse Science Fair and America’s Got Talent. Nearly 300,000 young people have participated in the ACT-SO program that is inspiring, building skills and encouraging leadership in generation after generation of students across the nation. To date, NAACP ACT-SO achievers include a Governor, House Majority Leader, many CEOs, business entrepreneurs, clergy, teachers, activists, IT professionals, award winning actors, nationally known literary figures, and National Science Foundation awardees.
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