Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NAACP seeing more diversity in it's leadership



The NAACP's newly revived Worcester chapter elected a 28-year-old openly gay black man as its president this month. In New Jersey, a branch of the organization outside Atlantic City chose a Honduran immigrant to lead it last year. The chapter in Aiken, S.C., named a white man as its leader earlier this year. And in Mississippi, the Jackson State University chapter recently turned to a 30-something white man.

Founded more than a century ago to promote black equality, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is seeing 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. "This is a human rights organization, and we have an obligation to fight discrimination at all levels."

NAACP branches have been recruiting gays, immigrants and young people who grew up in a world far removed from the landmark 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that outlawed school segregation. Now, leadership positions that were once held only by blacks are being filled by members of other racial or ethnic groups.

Read more New NAACP seeing more diverse chapter leaders

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