NAACP leaders introduced to us by President Jealous included Rev. William Barber (North Carolina), Chris Smitherman (Cincinnati) and Angela Ciccolo (NAACP General Counsel).
Here are the highlights from the call:
Rev. William Barber (NAACP North Carolina Conference) - He shared history of the 'early voting' initiative that began two years ago in North Carolina. This year the state has 15 sites open for Sunday voting. Over 1.2 million NC residents have voted already ... 400,000 of them are African American. Over 6,500 Charlotte citizens voted this past Sunday. Two voter suppression challenges that NAACP NC Conference dealt with recently involved (a) out-of-state college students registered to vote in NC and (b) ex-felon voting rights. Finally, Rev. Barber encouraged everyone to check out the Million Voting March information in print and video. Chris Smitherman (NAACP Cincinnati Branch) -President Smitherman highlighted the importance of early voting by spending the night in order to be the first person to cast a vote in Hamilton County. Over 15,600 citizens followed his lead as of yesterday. The goal is to have over 25,000 early voters in Hamilton County. He noted that Hamilton County went to Pres. Bush in the 2004 election cycle by only 27,000 votes. NAACP worked with a number of strategic partners including the Greater Cincinnati Urban League, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), SEIU and others in a variety of early voting efforts. CPS provided two busses to help get 18-year old high school seniors to voting booths! NAACP Cincinnati Branch wants citizens to 'own the ballot'. As such, the branch is actively promoting support for local ballot initiatives. Angela Ciccola (NAACP Headquarters) - She acknowledged the powerful work being done by local branch and state leaders such as Barber and Smitherman. She pointed out that the NAACP is aggressively fighting voter suppression and voter intimidation situations in places like Lake County (IN), Indianapolis (IN) and Virginia.
NAACP has a number of election 'watch parties' taking place next Tuesday night. I imagine that most NAACP members and supporters will be watching the election results next Tuesday all over the country.
I understand that the issue of the NAACP Youth Entrepreneurship Institute will be on the agenda for our call next month. NAACP would like to see more bloggers of African descent on these monthly conference calls. Let me know if you're interested and I'll forward your information on to them so you will be notified.