NAACP hosting 103rd Annual Convention in Houston: "Your Power, Your Decision. Vote!"

The NAACP is returning to the Lone Star State to host its 103rd Annual National Convention in Houston, Texas from July 7 – 12.  This year’s convention theme is “NAACP: Your Power, Your Decision – Vote” and will focus on the importance and voter participation and the impact of voting on all aspects of our lives, including economic policy, health care, education and more. A schedule of events is at this link: http://naacp.3cdn.net/6fba030d0200146c73_1vm62y23q.pdf

"We are excited to hold this year's convention in Houston," stated NAACP Chairman Roslyn M. Brock. "In this election year it is especially important for us to come together and discuss the challenges facing communities of color and the nation as a whole. As we tackle important issues like health care, education or civic engagement, we must have hope and remember that we cannot fully recover as a nation unless we lift up every boat. The NAACP will continue to educate, mobilize and agitate to create an informed populace, so that every American feels they have the privilege and the power to go to the ballot box and exercise their right to vote."

The convention arrives as new laws restricting access to the ballot box and racial profiling programs like stop-and-frisk dominate the headlines. The NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, will adopt a policy agenda to advance civil rights for all people.

From voting rights attacks to institutionalized racial profiling programs to the gross disparities in the American classroom, we are in the midst of a coordinated attack on civil rights in this country,” stated NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous.  “Our 103rd Annual Convention in Houston is an opportunity to set an agenda for how we fight back against these attacks and expand rights over the next 100 years.”

Convention speakers include actors, established and emerging civil rights leaders, elected officials, and faith-based leaders. 
On Monday, July 9, NAACP President and CEO will deliver the keynote address at the First Public Meeting of the 103rd NAACP Annual Convention.

Additionally, as part of its historic relationship with the electoral process, the NAACP has invited the presidential nominees from both major parties—Democratic nominee President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Governor Mitt Romney, who has already confirmed. 
Vice President Joe Biden will address the convention on Thursday, July 12th. The Vice President will keynote the convention’s final plenary session, scheduled for 9:30 am to 12:00 pm CDT. Attorney General Eric Holder will deliver remarks during the Clarence Mitchell Memorial Lunch on Monday, July 9, 2012, at 1:30 p.m. EDT/12:30 p.m. CDT.  

“The NAACP is the most influential and relevant voice in the fight for social justice,” stated NAACP Vice Chairman Leon Russell.  “This is especially true in this year when we elect the leadership which will shape our nation's civic climate for years to come. As we continue our journey toward a greater Nation, we thank our Houston Branch and the City of Houston for graciously hosting our 103rd Annual Convention. Our mission is to define the civil rights agenda for this century, just as we have done since our founding in 1909.”

“This year’s convention will allow us to prepare for what we feel will be an all out assault against the Black and Latino voting bloc in November,” said NAACP Texas State Conference President Gary Bledsoe. “Our convention begins amid a rising tide of racial hatred in our nation and our meeting is essential as we convene to map out a strategy to combat it. We will join with other people of good will to save the Constitution and restore the hope that this nation has brought us— the sincere belief that people of diverse races and faiths can join together as one nation.”

The NAACP Annual Convention has been held in Houston three previous times (1941, 1991, and 2002).

“The NAACP Houston Branch Executive Committee, Executive Director, our volunteers and the City of Houston are looking forward to hosting our 103rd NAACP National Convention,” said Rev. Reginald Lillie, President of the NAACP Houston Branch. “Our expectations and excitement are high as we prepare for our National Staff, National Board Members and many Delegates to return to our great city. Each year our convention is historic and this year we will make history in Houston.”

In addition to the primary NAACP event schedule, The NAACP’s Youth & College Division will host workshops, luncheons and forums throughout the week; including, a Great Debate series competition.  Cosponsored by Starbucks, the debate will feature student debate teams from Wiley University and Harvard.

The convention will also spotlight emerging youth from across the nation in the Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, or ACT-SO, competition.   The competition will be held July 56, with students competing in 26 ACT-SO categories, including sciences, humanities, performing arts, visual arts, and business over the course of the event.   Famed ACT-SO alumni include musician Kanye West, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, filmmaker John Singleton and comedian Anthony Anderson.

For more information on the NAACP Convention visit http://www.naacp.org/. Catch the daily live online streams at http://naacplive.com/2012/ at join the Twitter discussion with the hashtag #NAACPHou12

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