At age 29, NAACP Northeast Region Director Marvin Bing is one of the century-old civil rights organization’s newest faces taking on the torch. It’s been a year since the Philadelphia native took the position, and his focus is moving the NAACP’s mission and campaigns.
NAACP’s Region 2 covers 10 states on the East Coast from Maine to Delaware. Bing oversees the region’s major issues affecting people of color, including racial and employment discrimination, the death penalty and marriage equality. He also works closely with the NAACP’s state conference presidents, most notably, the New York State Conference president, Hazel Dukes.
“My life is my job,” he said in a recent interview with the AmNews. “My concern is every community, whether it’s my talks with young people about not using guns, working with veterans or helping seniors.”
A product of the foster care system, Bing grew up living in different homes in Philadelphia. His mother died when he was younger, and his father was in prison. Bing was released from the juvenile justice system when he was 18 and credits the people around him with lifting him up.
“I had a real village behind me,” he said. “No matter what the circumstance, you can overcome any obstacle. It’s perseverance and never letting go of that concept.”
Today, in addition to performing his duties as regional director, Bing visits juvenile detention centers and acts as a vocal advocate for children in the foster care system. He’s currently working on legislation that would raise the age limit of criminalization to 18 in New York state. The state currently charges youth as young as 14 as adults.
Bing was called to take his current position after his years of working in the union and political realms. He was introduced to the NAACP during the 2010 One Nation Rally, where he met NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. Last year, he applied for the position and was called by Dukes for an interview.
Prior to working with the NAACP, Bing worked on the campaign for current Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. He also worked for political consultant Bill Lynch and spent time in Washington, D.C., working for the AFL-CIO.
Throughout his work, in all of his various positions, he’s made it a point to hire and employ those society might label the “undesirables.” With joblessness prevalent among poor people of color, Bing has worked to obtain jobs for people. One example was during his work on Vance’s campaign, when Bing specifically hired several young people residing in NYCHA housing.
“My day is all about the NAACP. I think a lot of people have forgotten the role the NAACP has played in society–the victories the NAACP had won and what they benefit from. We are fighting for people everyday,” he said.
Currently, Bing is working on several campaigns for the NAACP focusing on the issues of early voting, minimum wage, stop-and-frisk, affordable housing and the working poor. And while doing all of this, Bing continues his advocacy work for children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems.
A resident of Harlem, he is taking classes at New York University in order to finish earning his degree. Bing is also the father to a 12-year-old girl
As far as his future goes, he said he is interested in going into politics and will “answer” if he is “called to political office.” In that case, he said, he would serve in the state Assembly.