The NAACP State Conference recently held its annual Day on the Hill at the State Capitol. Members of the NAACP came from around the state and filled the State Representatives Chamber at the state capitol.
The purpose of the gathering was to galvanize members from around the state, and to support and oppose legislation by the state that effect and impact people of color.
The local president of the NAACP, Rev. Keith Caldwell, delivered the welcome. Many speakers came before the body, including Sen. Brenda Gilmore and state Rep. Harold Love, Jr.
There were several youth who attended the event, along with students from the College Chapter of the NAACP.
“On February 12, the NAACP celebrated its 111th birthday,” President Gloria Sweet Love said, “when a coalition of civil right activists founded what would go on to be the largest and most well-recognized civil rights group in America’s history.
“One hundred and eleven years later, the principals and purpose of the organization are still alive today, as we forge the path forward for the new fight for social justice. Today, we come to observe the legislative process, meet our legislators, attend committee meetings and give our input to the laws that govern each of us in the state.
“We have several bills that we will support and several bills, which we will oppose. Our focus is to ensure a comprehensive healthcare plan for all.”
“We are here to support a fair education for all students, requiring in service training in ‘restorative justice practice for school personnel,’” said President Love. “Students of color make up over 1/3 of Tennessee’s graduating seniors, yet less than 30% of post-secondary enrollment.”
The NAACP supports legislation that would increase the minimum wage to a livable wage of $15 per hour. The organization also supports legislation that bans the use of credit checks by potential employees. The organization addressed criminal justice issues and supports legislation to repeal the Employment At Will Law. It is also working and is organized to empower voters for the upcoming Presidential 2020 election.
“We must go back to our communities and to our local NAACP Units, and push social justice, and write our legislators,” said Love. “We have to increase youth participation, as they are our future, and those of us who have been fighting for years, must train the leaders of tomorrow, as there is much work to be done.”