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The New York State NAACP accepts the challenges of 2012

Naacp New York State Conference | , Hazel N. Dukes President | 1/5/2012, 11:02 a.m.
Sugar-sweetened beverage ban: Misdirected and shortsighted

The New York State NAACP celebrated its 75th anniversary in October of 2011 with an outstanding state convention, where more than 1,500 attendees came to New York City from every corner of the Empire State and shared their historic programs and civil rights victories. But the past is only useful if it prepares us for the challenges ahead.

The battle for an equal and excellent education for all children was at the forefront of the 2011 New York State NAACP agenda, and it will remain at the center of our civil rights agenda for 2012. We got rid of one incompetent chancellor, and we will continue to hold the current chancellor's feet to the fire to get a fair and excellent education for ALL of our children.

We will not let a whole generation of our children be miseducated in overcrowded classrooms without proper materials, books and 21st-century science and computer equipment just to make room for the co-location of a charter school all the latest in education tools and a small number of students. These charter schools serve less than 7 percent of all public school students. This struggle will continue.

We will make 2012 the year that the NAACP will register more eligible voters in New York State than ever before from every nook and cranny, urban and rural, all across this state. No potential eligible voter will be left out of this ongoing campaign. We will make a special effort to assist eligible ex-offenders to navigate the hurdles so that they can register. And, just as important, we will redouble our efforts to get these and other registered voters to the polls in November because our very lives depend on it.

In December of 2011, some 30,000 of us stood out in the cold in front of the offices of the billionaire Koch brothers to make it plain that we would not just step aside while they used their significant resources to suppress the votes of millions of Americans nationwide in an effort to return our nation to the post-Reconstruction era. Yes, they are creating a stumbling block, but we will use it as a stepping stone to bring our sisters and brothers to the polls in greater numbers than ever.

We will also address the many other challenges that threaten the civil rights of our brothers and sisters in 2012. The New York State NAACP is not daunted, nor are we intimidated. We have already come too far to quit now and sacrificed too much to hesitate or to falter.

I say bring it on, because we began this struggle 104 years ago, and we will continue until victory is won.