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NAACP Charts New Direction With National Listening Tour

By / Jul 26, 2017 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The NAACP embarks on a listening tour to meet with local leaders and better plan its future in a new era of civil rights activism.

As part of its strategic plan for the future, the NAACP recently launched “NAACP Forward,” a nationwide listening tour, during its 108th Annual Convention.

“I firmly believe that this tour will expand our reach, touch our people, engage more diverse audiences, and reinforce our focus on civil rights in this age of great political and social uncertainty,” Interim President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a press release. “NAACP Forward is a critical step in looking ahead, and achieving our objectives.”

Over the next few months, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization is scheduled to visit seven major cities across the country. Detroit will be the first stop on the listening tour, where NAACP national leadership will meet with local membership, supporters, and partners on August 24. Along with these public meetings, NAACP Forward will also host smaller discussions in each city to better understand the perspectives of members, local community leaders, activists, and others and to continue the critical conversations and action plans initiated at its recent convention.

Talking with local members will help the organization determine how to “address the issues and challenges that face African-Americans and our communities,” said NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman Leon W. Russell to The Associated Press.

The organization, which has been overshadowed by street-level advocacy groups like Black Lives Matte in recent years, will focus on adjusting to today’s fast-paced political climate that is accelerated by the immediacy of social media. In a Baltimore Sun article, Russell also said the group will be working to improve communications between its national office and its more than 2,000 local chapters.

As several issues important to the group—from criminal justice to education—come under threat by policies from the new administration, NAACP leaders have said they want to be in a better position to confront current political realities.

Through NAACP Forward, the organization hopes to remain progressive and actively engaged in civil rights causes. “Our impetus for today’s NAACP is to effectively reach our dedicated staff and members, community organizers, activists, faith and business leaders, social justice advocates and others, to address the issues and challenges that face African Americans, and our communities,” said Russell in a press release.

Thorne McFarlane

Thorne is an assistant editor for Associations Now and a literature buff who loves a great story. Have something interesting to share? Send it his way. More »

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