This is huge news: The NAACP's newly revived Worcester chapter elected a 28-year-old openly gay black man as its president this month...and, he's really hot!
Founded more than a century ago to promote black equality, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is showing remarkable diversity in its leadership ranks -- the result of an aggressive effort over the past four or five years to boost NAACP membership and broaden the civil rights organization's agenda to confront prejudice in its many forms.
"This is the new NAACP," said Clark University political science professor Ravi Perry, the new chapter president in Worcester told the Boston Herald. "This is a human rights organization, and we have an obligation to fight discrimination at all levels."
NAACP branches have been vastly recruiting gays, immigrants and young people. And, now, leadership positions that were once held only by blacks are being filled by members of other racial or ethnic groups. In New Jersey, a branch of the organization outside Atlantic City chose a
Honduran immigrant to lead it last year. And in Mississippi, the
Jackson State University chapter recently turned to a 30-something white
man. Also, in recent years NAACP chapters in , Connecticut and Georgia have elected Hispanics as president. A white man was picked to lead the chapter in Aiken, S.C. And two years ago, NAACP members in Hamtramck, Mich., a Detroit suburb, selected a Bangladeshi American to revive their long-dormant chapter.
In 1964, the NAACP's membership peaked at 625,000 paid members. By the
middle of the past decade, that had dropped to just under 300,000. Now
it has reversed course and climbed to more than 525,000, in large part
because of an increase in young members, group officials say.
It seems as though the NAACP has broadened its agenda and came out
against California's Proposition 8, the ballot measure banning gay
marriage. Last year, it spoke out against Arizona's anti-immigration
law. It also strongly supported the federal DREAM Act, a proposal to
give illegal immigrant students a pathway to citizenship through college
or military service.
Perry, the openly gay chapter president,
said: "I'm just one example of younger individuals who find a home in
the NAACP for issues that they might represent."
I think this new diversity is merely a return to the group's roots as a biracial organization. Bravo, NAACP! At their core, the NAACP wants to end discrimination and have equality for all people, right?!? This is absolutely the right direction.