NAACP state convention underway in Oak Ridge

Tennessee’s NAACP president says a focue of the group’s state convention, now underway at Oak Ridge, will be roadblocks that have been erected to keep citizens from voting and the need to tear them down, reports the News Sentinel.

That’s one of several “game-changers” that will be in focus today and Saturday as the 67th annual state convention of the NAACP continues, Gloria J. Sweet-Love said.

As many as 500 members of chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from Memphis to Johnson City are expected at the event, centered at the Doubletree Hotel in Oak Ridge.

Nationally known speakers on topics including childhood obesity and financial empowerment are on the schedule for workshops and forums.

There are 10,000 state members in 66 adult and youth chapters of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil-rights organization.

The NAACP was founded in 1909. Nationally, its membership rolls have doubled in recent years to 600,000 members, Sweet-Love said.
The Knoxville and Roane County chapters of the NAACP are hosting this year’s convention, Sweet-Love said. It’s being held in Oak Ridge in an effort to reactivate a now-dormant city chapter.

“It’s vitally important that we have strong branches through the state,” she said.

Along with a focus on voting rights, the state organization is in lockstep with the national NAACP in its emphasis on immigration reform and efforts to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act, Sweet-Love said.

“In Montana, you have same-day (voter) registration,” where voters can cast ballots immediately after registering, she said. “Why isn’t that available here? Any effort to take away a vote is discrimination.”