The NAACP announced it will host its 105th annual convention in Las Vegas July 19-23, with vice president Joe Biden to deliver remarks to thousands of delegates, members and guests July 23.
This year’s convention theme is “All In for Justice & Equality,” and will focus on securing black turnout for the 2014 midterm election, pushing back on voter suppression efforts and the ongoing struggles for criminal justice reform, voting rights, economic opportunity and education equality.
“We are excited to hold this year’s convention in Las Vegas,” said Roslyn M. Brock, chairman, NAACP. “In this pivotal election year, it is especially important for us to address voter suppression and the challenges facing communities of color and the nation as a whole.
“As we tackle important issues like health care, economic opportunity, education and civic engagement, we know that we cannot fully recover as a nation unless we are courageous, stand in solidarity and get out the vote. The NAACP will continue to educate, mobilize and agitate to create an informed and engaged populace and continue the work in ensuring every American has unfettered access to the ballot box.”
Occurring in a pivotal year of important civil rights anniversaries and milestones, including the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the convention also occurs on the heels of the Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in the Schutte Case, as well as the devastating decision in Shelby v. Holder, which invalidated Section IV of the Voting Rights Act.
“The civil rights anniversaries this past year reminds us how far we have come, and how far we still have to go,” said Lorraine C. Miller, former interim president and CEO, NAACP. “NAACP members and partners have never been content to simply memorialize historic icons; in fact, we are inspired and energized by their example for the work that lies ahead.”
Citing increased voter diversity, the NAACP also battled new attacks on equal access to education, health care and economic opportunity that affect the lives of African Americans.
This year’s convention speakers include well-known as well as the next generation of civil rights leaders, elected officials, faith leaders, actors and community activists.
In addition to the primary convention schedule, the NAACP’s Youth & College Division will host workshops, luncheons and forums throughout the week. Emerging youth from across the nation will be featured in the annual Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) competition beginning July 17. Students will compete in 26 categories over the course of the event. Famous ACT-SO alumni include musician Kanye West, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, filmmaker John Singleton and comedian Anthony Anderson.