Local chapter hosts NAACP state conference


Ethan Dennis, [email protected]

“There is a long history of oppression, but an even longer history of resilience,” said Joey Jackson, a New York defense attorney and CNN legal analyst. As the Freedom Fund Banquet’s keynote speaker, Jackson perfectly expressed the theme of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Louisiana state convention- “Educate, Empower, Engage.”

The University of Louisiana Monroe hosted the Louisiana State NAACP Convention and Training Conference from Sept. 20-22. The mission of this year’s NAACP state convention was to tackle tough issues such as domestic violence, economic stability, public safety, criminal justice and the role free education and voting right America today. The convention brought delegates, members and friends together from all over Louisiana with numerous educational sessions and stressed the importance of voting.

On Thursday, participants had a chance to meet the LA NAACP president, Dr. Michael McClanahan, at a meet and greet reception in Bayou Pointe Event Center. The Monroe City and Ouachita Parish high school bands and choir performed, and Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, city council members and Democratic U.S. House of Representatives candidate Jessee Fleenor were in attendance. Candidate Fleenor said the NAACP organization is something he hold really close to his heart.

“It’s not just about African Americans, white Americans or this kind of American, we all have to become one American family. And that’s my goal-that’s why I’m getting into politics. We have got to start treating each other better in this country,” Fleenor shared.

On Friday, Gov. John Bel Edwards delivered an address at the Labor and Industry Luncheon. On Saturday, there were two banquets: a “Women In NAACP” Luncheon and a “Youth Leadership Luncheon.” Later that night, the convention closed with the Freedom Fund Banquet at The Mount Zion Baptist Church Family Life Center.

Freshman biology major Nautica Jones thoroughly enjoyed attending the banquet. Also a ULM NAACP member, Jones said, “It really meant a lot to me, because the main reason I joined the organization was to have a sense of culture and a sense of pride. We (African Americans) don’t really get that portrayed a lot in the professional sense, just in an informal way, and I feel like that was portrayed well at this banquet.”

Special performances included praise dances by Dazzle Dance and vocal performances by 7 Anointed Men, directed by Dr. Hezekiah Brinson. Led by 7 Anointed Men, the banquet ended with all those in attendance singing the black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Senior toxicology major and NAACP president Mykel Wilson says that NAACP has many great events planned for the semester, and information about all of them can be found by staying tuned to its Twitter and Instagram, ulmnaacp and ulmnaacp_, respectively.