Members of the NAACP, the nation’s most revered civil rights organization, are declaring “We Shall Not Be Moved” as they gather for their 104th annual convention in Orlando, Fla.

“The NAACP is still the most influential and relevant voice in the fight for social justice,” said NAACP Vice Chairman Leon Russell. “Our mission is to define the civil rights agenda for this century, just as we have done since our founding.”

From July 13-17, NAACP members and other convention attendees will reflect on contemporary challenges, including efforts to roll back the advances of the civil rights era such as nationwide efforts to suppress voters before the 2012 election, and the group’s efforts to combat them, such as its unprecedented voter registration and mobilization that helped determine the election’s outcome.

The convention will convene amid the trial of Trayvon Martin’s killer and in the wake of three Supreme Court decisions that will impact affirmative action and voting rights, concerns around which the NAACP has campaigned.

“While the future of voting rights and equal access to education hang in the balance, our national and state conferences must hold strong” stated NAACP Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze. “This year’s convention is essential as we map out strategies to continue to fight attacks on our civil rights.

We will join with others across the country to protect rights most sacred in our democracy. As one nation, we shall not be moved.”

The gathering also occurs before a backdrop of significant civil rights anniversaries, including the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers, and the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, milestones that will color the Orlando proceedings.

“The civil rights anniversaries this past year remind us how far we have come, and how far we still have to go,” said NAACP CEO and President Benjamin Todd Jealous. “As we honored the contributions of heroes like Medgar Evers, W.E.B. Du Bois and Bayard Rustin, we also fought the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration and the old Jim Crow of voter suppression. We broke records for voter diversity, but faced new attacks on equal access to education, health care and economic opportunity.

“This convention is a chance for NAACP activists to celebrate our victories and prepare for the year ahead,” he added. “We have never been content to just memorialize past icons; we need to be the heroes of our present and future.”

In addition to the primary NAACP event schedule, which includes panel discussions and speeches, the NAACP’s Youth & College Division will host workshops, luncheons and forums throughout the week.

And talented youth from across the nation will step into the spotlight in the Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, or ACT-SO, competition. The competition will begin July 11, with students competing in 26 ACT-SO categories, including sciences, humanities, performing arts, visual arts, and business over the course of the event. The competitors will walk in the footsteps of famous ACT-SO alumni such as musician Kanye West, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, filmmaker John Singleton and comedian Anthony Anderson.

For a schedule of events visit:


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO