NEW YORK — Dr. Allen Mask is attending the 100th annual convention of the NAACP in New York. He will file daily reports on his experiences.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
It is the perfect setting for a conference. The weather is New York City is perfect. High today was 81 degrees with a slight breeze, dropping down to the low 60s at night. You have an idyllic setting setting: balmy Caribbean-like weather but on the island of Manhattan, the hustle and bustle of the greatest city in the world, and inside (New York Hilton) the laser focus of 5,000+ NAACP members in a centennial convention.
Much of today's convention was dedicated to youth and adult elections, including selection of members to the NAACP National Board of Directors. Numerous 2009 resolutions were voted on by delegates to the convention.
Greetings were offered by numerous speakers, including Thomas Vilsack, U.S. secretary of agriculture, who talked about protection of the nation's food supply. He spoke of the importance of providing fresh fruits and vegetables for our children in schools. He acknowledged the extreme lack of diversity in his department over the last eight years and the commitment of the department to reverse this trend.
The Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, received a cordial but reserved reception. He spoke about improving relations between the Republican Party and African-Americans but the audience's reaction demonstrated they are still extremely disappointed in the past eight years of George W. Bush and company
A lively part of today's session included the NAACP Author's Pavilion which featured authors such as prominent American novelist Walter Mosley, Bern Nadette Stanis (Thelma of the show "Good Times") and TV Judge Greg Mathis.
A health fair featured displays from the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, American Red Cross, United States Department of Agriculture and many others.
A new offering this year is a career fair where job seekers could investigate employment opportunities. Obviously, with the recent economic downturn, the pavilion was packed.
The North and South Carolina delegations were treated to a reception at the Renaissance Hotel by Progress Energy. We all traveled the six blocks there by a chartered bus.
Tonight's finale was a performance by international recording star Patti LaBelle at the Nokia Theater in Times Square.
Wednesday's schedule features a keynote address by scholar Dr. Cornel West of Princeton University and a gospel showcase with recording artists Hezekiah Walker, Mary Mary and Smokie Norful.
And yes, President Barack Obama is still coming this Thursday. Have not met anyone who'd rather be someplace else.