Special to the NNPA News Service fromTheHouston Defender
HOUSTON (NNPA) – With the 2012 presidential election serving as the backdrop, the NAACP will convene its 103rd Annual National Convention in Houston from Saturday, July 7 through Thursday, July 12 at the George R. Brown Convention Center.
Appropriately, this year’s convention theme is “NAACP: Your Power, Your Decision – Vote,” as the organization seeks to maximize voter participation in what some are calling one of the most important presidential elections in decades.
President Barack Obama is expected to accept an invitation to speak at the convention on July 12, the day after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses NAACP participants.
“We are excited to hold this year’s convention in Houston,” said Roslyn M. Brock, NAACP chairman. “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.”
With a slew of laws viewed by many as attempts at voter suppression, and other hot-button issues such as Blacks and the criminal justice system, gay marriage, education, and healthcare, attendees look to come out of the convention on one accord, ready for November.
“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.
“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,” said 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.”
This year’s gathering will mark the fourth national convention held in Houston. The previous three were held in 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….National Convention,” said Rev. Reginald Lillie, local branch president.
A schedule of events and more information can be found at www.naacp-houston.org. Convention highlights (Central Standard Time) include the following:
Commerce & Industry Fair, Health Fair, Retail Expo, Author Pavilion, & HBCU Fair (July 7-10, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)
•First Public Mass Meeting – Keynote Speaker: Roslyn M. Brock, chairman, NAACP Board of Directors (Sunday, July 8, 6-8:30 p.m.)
•Concurrent Mini-Summits on Education, Economic Development, Criminal Justice, Health & Voting Rights (Monday, July 9, 2:30-5:30 p.m.)
•Legislative Sessions – 2012 Resolution (Tuesday, July 10, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. & 3-5 p.m.)
•Career Fair (Tuesday, July 10, noon-8 p.m.)
•National Membership Luncheon – Keynote Speaker: Julian Bond, NAACP chairman emeritus (Tuesday, July 10, 1-2:30 p.m.)
•Special Plenary Session on Civic Engagement – Keynote Speaker: Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney (Wednesday, July 11, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)
•Gospel Extravaganza Featuring Yolanda Adams (Wednesday, July 11, 6:30-9 p.m.)
•Invited Speaker: President Barack Obama (Thursday, July 12, 9:30 a.m.-noon)
•Community Service (Thursday, July 12, 1-4:30 p.m.)
•Freedom Fund Banquet & Spingarn Awards Program (Thursday, July 12, 7:30 p.m.)
Weather for Eutaw, Ala. Friday Saturday SundayPartly Cloudy81/57Clear79/61Partly Cloudy88/64
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