Politics

NAACP Youth Seek ‘Black Lives Matter’ Activism For Nation’s Oldest Civil Rights Organization

A man speaks on a phone on stage after a panel discussion on black turnout for midterm elections and voter suppression during the NAACP annual convention Tuesday, July 22, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A man speaks on a phone on stage after a panel discussion on black turnout for midterm elections and voter suppression during the NAACP annual convention Tuesday, July 22, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Aaron Morrison, THE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

 
PHILADELPHIA (The International Business Times) — After a white supremacist gunned down nine worshippers at the historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June, the NAACP praised victims’ families for offering the white gunman forgiveness and prayer at his arraignment on murder charges. In their condemnation of the hate-fueled act, NAACP leaders said “confronting violence with nonviolence [and] hate with love” is what the organization encourages communities of color to do when faced with racial terror.

But the message didn’t sit right with some of the the organization’s youngest supporters. “A lot of people around my age were like, ‘Are you serious?’ ” said Ayanna McDonald, 26, a special education teacher from Florida who expected more than a call for forgiveness from black leaders after the church shooting. “We want something different. It’s great to hold hands and pray, but then what?”

Members of the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights organization for people of color gathered in Philadelphia this week after a year of intense debate over race politics and police brutality toward black youth. In the aftermath, young black men and women who attended the annual convention said they were becoming increasingly disillusioned with the NAACP’s image and reputation as a traditional minority advocacy group with dated approaches to civil disobedience.

 

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