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78th annual NAACP state conference begins

Cyril Josh Barker | 10/9/2014, 10:45 a.m.
The NAACP New York State Conference is hosting its 78th annual convention Oct. 10 through Oct. 12 at the Westchester ...
Hazel Dukes

The NAACP New York State Conference is hosting its 78th annual convention Oct. 10 through Oct. 12 at the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown, N.Y. The three-day conference is bringing out delegates from across the state, focusing on education, voter registration and affordable health care. Speakers at this year’s conference include Dr. Lester Young, Dr. Divine Pryor and Rep. Nita Lowey.

The convention will have leading experts focusing on urgent issues concerning New York’s African-American communities, including economic stability, education, health, public safety, voting rights and political representation. This year’s theme, “NAACP: All in for Justice and Equality,” expresses the position of the NAACP New York State Conference.

“The NAACP New York State Conference is pleased to hold our 78th annual convention in Westchester County,” stated Dr. Hazel N. Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference and National NAACP board member. “At this convention, our priority is to ensure that the educational, social and economic equality of all peoples are maintained.”

During an interview with the AmNews, Dukes added that delegates attending the conference are being trained and instructed on various issues to bring back to their communities across the state.

One of the highlights of the conference is the discussion about the Affordable Care Act. A representative from the state will be on-site at the convention and available to answer questions.

In the area of education, discussions will cover Common Core, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and the achievement gap. State education officials will also be on hand to talk about Regents exams and ways to improve public schools.

“Our youth and college members are coming to the conference, and we will instill in them that they must look at STEM,” Dukes said. “We recently had a meeting with Google to discuss offering students support.”

Because policing and race continue to be hot-button issues in the country, stop-and-frisk and the death of Eric Garner are being discussed at the conference. Last month, the NAACP released a groundbreaking new report on racial profiling titled, “Born Suspect: Stop-and-Frisk Abuses & the Continued Fight to End Racial Profiling in America.” The report contains a review of every state’s anti-profiling law, breaking each down to better understand the law’s effectiveness and identify where improvements are needed.

Another issue Dukes said the conference will focus on is immigration. Recent reports on the number of Mexican immigrants coming to New York has put the issue in the spotlight.

“We need to make sure they have the proper tools for young people to be indoctrinated into the American system,” Dukes said.

On-site registration for the NAACP New York State Conference opens Friday, Oct. 10 at noon at the Westchester Marriott, 670 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, N.Y. Go to nysnaacp.org for more information. Registration is $45.