By Carla Thomas
The NAACP State Convention at Oakland’s Marriott Hotel sent a message of education and awareness, calling on people to make their vote count in upcoming November elections.
Political leaders, candidates and NAACP regional and local were in attendance at last weekend’s conference, including Willie Brown, Elihu Harris, Mervyn Dymally, and Curren Price.
Leaders spoke passionately about youth, education and the importance of standing united in this election year.
Now in its 23rd year, led by State President Alice Huffman, the four-day convention included a host of workshops and panel discussions. Huffman urged the community to save the dream by voting and educating themselves on how the criminal justice system is destroying black communities. “Let’s reach higher and activate the power that we have been given to protect our people.”
Democratic candidate for governor Jerry Brown spoke at the Youth Focus Dinner. At the political breakfast, speakers urged voters to vote Yes on 20 and NO on 27. Guest speakers included California Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado; Debra Bowen, Secretary of State; Damon Dunn, Secretary of State Candidate; California Controller John Chiang; and State Superintendent of Instruction candidates Tom Torlakson and Larry Aceves.
“We wish you much success and thank you for all your contributions toward making Oakland a model city,” said Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, welcoming the delegates. Entertainment throughout the weekend included the Ricardo Scales Ensemble, Bay Area Sounds, Pop Lyfe and the choir of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church of San Francisco.
Workshops addressing transportation and infrastructure included Fred Jordan of FE Jordan and Associates and Bart Director Carole Ward Allen. While emphasizing the racism in the issuance of federal transportation contracts, Jordan stated, “We are losing ground, and if we don’t take action to stop it now, we will be left behind.”
Damon Dunn, Secretary of State Candidate, encouraged youth to pursue excellence. “No matter what, your current days do not determine your destiny. Being Black you sometimes have to do twice as much to go half as far,” said Dunn.