This past weekend the Detroit Branch NAACP and Michigan State Conference NAACP hosted the Midwest Region III Civil Rights Advocacy Training Institute (C.R.A.T.I) at Fellowship Chapel and Hope United Methodist Church. The weekend brought together NAACP adult and youth members from Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The theme “Changing the Game” addressed the 5 Game Changers the NAACP will continue to focus as it moves into its second century of advocacy.
On Thursday as the conference opened members from the region joined at Fellowship Chapel as Detroit Branch NAACP Executive Committee Member and Pastor of Ebenezer AME Church, Rev. Byron Moore, served as keynote speaker for the Faith Leaders Luncheon. In his message he stated that, “It’s time to stop playing the game and change the game!” Members of the crowd applauded as he continued to encourage them to remain committed to the work and mission of the NAACP.
On Friday, the President & CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous joined the convention with a press conference and spoke at the opening plenary session. The President & CEO stood with the National Board Members, State Conference Presidents, and Executive Director Donnell White in full support of the fight against an Emergency Financial Manager coming into the City of Detroit. “The people of the City of Detroit have the right to have their voices heard, and their voices heard through their vote. It is imperative the their voting rights are restored.”
On Saturday, the Detroit NAACP Youth Council was awarded during the Youth Advocacy Luncheon. The Youth Council received an award for highest membership increase while implementing the National Campaign “Revive 25.” At the luncheon, the National Youth & College Division Director, Mr. Sammie Dow spoke to the youth, sharing the importance of service and dedication not only to the NAACP, but to people all around the world. As he addressed the crowd he recited the classic poem by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, I Have Only But A Minute, and asked how they would spend it.
The night concluded with the Freedom Awards Banquet. At the Banquet, Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony served as the Master of Ceremony with blessings from Rev. Carlyle Fielding Stewart, Pastor of Hope United Methodist Church. During the evening Councilwoman JoAnn Watson was awarded the Rosa Parks 2013 Woman of the Year Award, State Conference President Yvonne White was awarded the 2013 Julius Caesar Hope Hall of Fame Award, and National Board Member Kamilia Landrum was awarded the 2013 Youth of the Year Award.
In addition to the highlighted events, NAACP members attended workshops and training’s on Communications and Digital Media, Legal Redress & Advocacy, Organizing on a Federal, State, and Local Level, Fundraising, Criminal Justice, Voting Rights, Health, Climate and Environmental Justice, and an exclusive tour of the Detroit Branch NAACP Centennial Exhibit: A Very Present Force. Next year the conference will take place in the State of Ohio.