All eyes will be on Philadelphia this week.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has launched their 106th convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
This year’s theme, Pursuing Liberty in the Face of Injustice, will feature keynotes from President Barack Obama on Tuesday and former President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Wednesday.
With an estimated over 8,000 attendees expected at the convention from July 11-15, the city stands to benefit economically.
On the official site, Philly was especially picked because of its “historic role in American liberty and its easy accessibility by plane, rail, and car.” The city’s lively attractions and dining locations near the Convention Center and around can expect upwards of $10.5 million in revenue according to local hospitality officials at their recent press conference.
The local Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP stands at the forefront of the event as the host chapter — not far removed from a recent controversy that divided their leadership.
Last year, the national office suspended four Philadelphia chapter leaders to help defuse a bitter public quarrel between the since-removed local president J. Whyatt Mondesire and three other members of his board.
The new Philadelphia chapter president, Rodney Muhammad, is more focused on this convention and the current racial challenges the city and nation as a whole still faces.
“We’ve got work in front of us,” Muhammad said. “If you’re wondering why the NAACP is here? Injustice is here.”
The convention plans to focus its attention to issues surrounding police violence, racial profiling, voting rights and healthcare access.
And just in case one was still wondering about the controversy surrounding the now-resigned Spokane NAACP President, Rachel Dolezal – well, the NAACP National President, Cornell Williams Brooks, is not.
“The NAACP focuses on issues, not individuals,” Brooks said of the “distraction.” “We try to emphasize character, integrity and we’re endeavoring to do that by helping our branches (and) our units with grassroots training in terms of how to do the work … for 106 years.”
History of scandal atPhiladelphia NAACP
Former head of the NAACP’s Philadelphia chapter J. Whyatt Mondesire was ousted after fellow board members requested a review of the chapter’s finances.
Mondesire was found to havefunneled NAACP donations and funds through a non profit he controlled, the Next Generation CDC. But he denied any improper use of the funds.
The state Attorney General’s office had convened a grand jury to investigateMondesire, but never filed charges.
Mondesire was replaced by Rodney Muhammad.
This year’s NAACP Convention is attracting serious notables to Philadelphia.
July 14: President Obama
July 15: U.S. Attorney GeneralLoretta Lynchand former presidentBillClinton