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NAACP previews national convention coming to Boston

Tanisha Bhat
NAACP previews national convention coming to Boston
Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO speaks at Boston press conference. PHOTO: JOHN WILCOX, CITY OF BOSTON

The NAACP came to Roxbury to give a preview of its upcoming national convention in Boston next month.

The 114th national convention of the civil rights organization is scheduled at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in the Seaport July 26-31.

“Each year, NAACP members, friends, and elected leaders gather at the convention in a shared space that has proven vital for our collective growth and advocacy,” said NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson. “This space, intently curated each year by the Association’s local branch, state conference, and national leaders, provides us with the ability to harness the power of Black America.”

Johnson spoke June 27 at a news conference in the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building that included speeches from the NAACP’s leadership team and state government officials who talked about different issues affecting racial minority groups in Boston and across the country.

“We are so honored and excited to be welcoming the 114th national convention to Boston,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Thank you for choosing and trusting our city with the gift of your energy, your presence and your power.”

Johnson talked about the importance of equity and racial justice to ensure members of all minority groups have access to opportunities for advancement.

“An apartheid America is a shrinking America,” he said. “We can no longer proclaim to be the leading democracy on the globe if in fact we restrict the opportunities of so many deserving individuals to add to the quality of life for all of us.”

Tanisha Sullivan, the president of the Boston NAACP, explained that Boston was chosen to host the convention because it has a unique racial history as the birthplace of the abolition movement but also the site of violent opposition to school desegregation in the 1970s.

“Given our reputation as a racist city, this is both an opportunity for us to reintroduce to the nation as a community that is doing the work necessary to challenge racism and all of its structures and for us to take up a challenge against complacency” she said.

Massachusetts House Speaker Ron Mariano said the state is currently trying to ensure the rights of women and minorities through policy initiatives.

“You’re coming to a place that recognizes the crisis that we’re in in this country,” he said. “Every time the Supreme Court has made a decision that tramples on the rights of individuals, like women’s healthcare, we’ve stood up and passed our own laws that make the Supreme Court’s decision irrelevant.” 

During the convention, whose theme is “Thriving Together,” participants can attend topical workshops, virtual career fairs, worship services and reception dinners. The opening reception and marketplace will be open to the public.

The formal convention will be preceded by the Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition among students.

“We will not be the same Boston after the NAACP convention leaves town,” Wu said. “Our charge is to ensure the impact, the attention and the energy of this convention will forever leave its mark on the infrastructure, the community building and the determination of Boston to be a city that leads the way.”