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By George Holland, Sr. | Oakland NAACP President
Members of the NAACP Oakland Branch attended the 109th NAACP National Convention held in San Antonio, Texas, July 15-18, 2018. The theme of this year’s convention was “Defeat Hate, VOTE”.
The group was led by National Board member, Morandon Henry, (past president of NAACP Oakland’s Imani Youth Council). The group included eight members of our Imani Youth Council, four of which were Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technology-Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) participants.
Adult attendees were former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris and his wife Sheila Harris, George and Shirley Coaston, Ron and Patrice Waugh, Victor and Helen McDowell, Robert Harris (Executive Member), Audrey Shields, Clifton Cooper (1st Vice President), Cynthia Adams (ACT-SO Chair and Second Vice President), and President George Holland, Sr.
There were many highlights of this convention starting with the ACT-SO competition, the legal education seminar pertaining to voting rights training, and a Hip Hop Social Justice Summit.
The conclusion of the convention was the presentation of the 103rd Spingarn Award to a person for the “higher or noblest achievement during the preceding year or years”. The recipient was the Honorable Willie L. Brown, Jr., former Mayor of San Francisco and a past speaker of the California State Assembly. Mr. Brown was introduced by past United States President, the Honorable Bill Clinton.
Mayor Brown supporters were members of the San Francisco Branch of the NAACP under the leadership of Rev. Amos Brown. Mr. Brown’s special guest was Mayor London Breed, the first and only African-American mayor of the City and County of San Francisco.
The big surprise of the evening was the outstanding singing of the “Star Strangled Banner” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by our Oakland Imani Youth Council member and ACT-SO participant, Victoria McDowell. Victoria brought the house down, she received so many accolades and compliments that they are to numerous to repeat.
The Oakland Branch members should be proud of our participation and attendance at this annual convention because of the issues that are facing our country. The cut back in medical care, the immigration problem, and the rising threat of overt racial attacks that are occurring so openly and without shame, are just a few issues we are facing. We can resist these negative occurrences if we all register and vote.