In Atlantic City, NAACP leaders are ready to fight the GOP in the upcoming midterm elections

ATLANTIC CITY – After leaving a January 8, 2021 meeting with Joe Biden, NAACP Chairman Derrick Johnson felt encouraged by the president-elect’s commitment to protecting the right to vote and today reaffirmed his confidence in Biden on this critical front. “Our problem isn’t with this administration, it’s with the Senate,” Johnson said in response to a question from InsiderNJ here at the Convention Center at the start of the 113th annual conference of the NAACP.

The Free Suffrage Act — a bill aimed at expanding Americans’ access to the polls and reducing the influence of big money — passed the House of Representatives in August 2021 with a vote of 219 to no. 213. The Free Vote Act introduced by the Senate establishes basic national standards for the conduct of elections and ensures that the voices of all Americans are heard.

Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP

The governing body did not propose the bill. “The Senate is acting like a dead end,” Johnson said. “That’s why this midterm election is very important.” On November 8, 2022, 34 of the 100 Senate seats are up for regular election. Currently, Democrats hold 50 of the seats and Republicans 50. A closing vote late last year on the Free Suffrage Act produced a result of 51 nays and 49 yeas.

At the launch press conference this morning, a reporter from NJ.com asked Johnson about jayland walker, the 25-year-old black man killed in a hail of police gunfire in the town of Akron, Ohio last month. Walker was shot over 40 times.

Can the NAACP exert influence to curb gun violence?

“Again, that’s why this midterm election is so important,” said the president of the national organization. “Congress has passed sweeping reforms and in the Senate it is deadlocked. It’s deadlocked for three reasons, Fist, local law enforcement doesn’t want to see any change. The sheriffs association blocked her while the police unions support her. Second, there’s a lot of money in the gun game. There is money in this process and it is dirty. Third, there is a movement that promotes a false narrative of what is constitutionally protected. When the Second Amendment was drafted, there were no AK-47s and AR-15s. No one envisioned this level of chaos.

“People are misinterpreting the Constitution, industry is taking advantage of it, and the Senate is afraid of their shadow because they are more concerned about their election than the safety of people,” Johnson added.

A sense of urgency and vigorous resistance by NAACP leaders against Crusades and Republican ducks drove much of the agenda at the official launch of the ‘This is Power’ convention. of this year.

Right to vote. Reproductive rights. Economic justice. Firearms safety and security. The right to free and equal education.

These issues have come to the fore.

“This is our opportunity to ask ourselves if this is the America we want to see or the America that others want to take us to,” Johnson told reporters.

Leon Russell, chairman of the NAACP’s national board of directors, said the nation’s largest civil rights organization has an obligation to confront multiple issues and lead and “speak for our people.” .

“We have issues that seem to crop up daily,” Russell said. “The pandemic has kept us at home. Now

mayor small

we must use the energy we have accumulated to bring about the changes necessary for our people to move forward. “It’s power.” You are that power – 2,200 units across the country and members of these individual units. As we go through the program for the next few days, we will take the time to explain to you and the nation how we will use this power. It’s time for us to find our voices and help our communities find their voices, and to remind the naysayers who went to the polls two years ago and are now saying ‘I changed who was in power, how is it that the world hasn’t changed for the better?'”

Russell said Biden supporters and Vice President Kamala Harris fell asleep on Jan. 5.

They will stand and fight, he swore.

“The NAACP will remind the world, to make sure it will be a more perfect union,” the board chairman said. We are the people here for the 113th year to make the policy and program of this association. We will leave this room and leave this city tasking our units to move forward to bring change across this land.

The organization’s national leaders, including Past President Hazel Dukes, greeted NAACP NJ President Richard Smith, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small and Vice Chairman of the Chapter Council of ‘Atlantic City, Kaleem Shabazz, for exercising leadership in bringing this year’s conference to the seaside. New The mecca of the Jersey game.

Smith (pictured above) acknowledged that African Americans have come a long way on their journey.

But the pandemic has exposed deep systemic inequalities, he said.

“When white America catches a cold, black Americans catch pneumonia; when white Americans get COVID, black Americans die,” the New Jersey-based leader said.

In defiance of critics who questioned citing this year’s event in Atlantic City, he cited the historical relevance of holding the conference in the same city where civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer said that she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired” at the 1964 Democratic Convention.

“We are always sick and tired of being sick and tired, and we look forward to laying the groundwork to consider voting, student debt, reproductive rights, non-segregated schools, health and environmental justice,” Smith said. .

Mayor Small welcomed NAACP leaders to Atlantic City.

“It’s a beautiful day in Atlantic City,” he said, promising a Saturday night party at Claridge.

“The president gave us our marching orders, but we also want to have fun,” the mayor said. “We have this opportunity. Maybe it will be an executive decision to relaunch him and have him here. [in Atlantic City] again next year.

Small credited Shabazz with undertaking the local work to get the conference here.

The vice chairman of the board (and president of the local NAACP chapter) said he was humble.

As an elected official from a poor town, he addressed the responsibility of black leaders where they live.

“The parish you are in is the parish I represent,” Shabazz (pictured above) said. “At the Palais des Congrès, people come together. But near here is Stanley Homes, the city’s largest public housing complex, with 424 units. Many kids get a reduced lunch and free lunch here. Many people receive additional income from the government. They want to be here today and we speak for them. After the convention is over, after the buntings fall, those of us who are elected, who have the ability to make ordinances and laws, must ensure that we use that power to come out of nowhere.

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