It’s three days in, and the NAACP has already started stirring up controversy during their 102nd convention hosted in Los Angeles this year.
With an upcoming presidential election in sight, NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous yesterday urged members to stand up against new, restrictive voting laws across the country, which he compares to laws that existed during the Jim Crow era.
During his speech, he cited 30 states that require voters to present “approved” photo identification at polls. He also raised concern about new laws in Georgia and Arizona that require voters to attach a copy of their driver's license, birth certificate or passport to their voter registration forms. "Simply put, people who are too poor to own a car tend not to have a driver's license," he said.
Jealous also expressed concern about the new five-to-seven year waiting period that felons would have to wait before voting. The establishment would consequently disqualify more than 500,000 voters including 250,000 Blacks during the upcoming presidential election.
"Let us recognize the obvious," Jealous said. "Our voting rights are under attack because we had a great breakthrough — the election of a Black president. It was followed by a great backlash."
The convention, hosting over 5,000 people discussing a wide-range of policy agendas, concludes on Thursday. This year marks the first time in 20 years that the number of dues-paying members has increased three years in a row. From the first half of last year, NAACP new and renewed membership has grown 24 percent and membership stands at 230,000.
Other topics discussed thus far at the convention include the plight of Black men who continue to face high rates of incarceration, unemployment and death, and the NAACP’s call to South Carolina’s first governor of color to bring down the Confederate flag that flies at the state capitol building.
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(Photo: Fred Prouser/Landov)