NEW YORK — During its annual public board meeting in New York City, the NAACP announced several key partnerships designed to expand the reach, impact and effectiveness of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organizations.
During its public annual board meeting, the Association announced partnerships with key organizations of color designed to help mobilize voters for midterm elections and increase membership for the 109-year-old organization.
The NAACP signed agreements with the NNPA: The Black Press of America; the National Minority Pan Hellenic Council; the African- American Institute, and The LINKS as part of an overall strategy by the NAACP to shift resources towards mobilization efforts for the 2018-midterm elections.
“Working with partners remains a critical part of unifying the Black community as we prepare to make our voices heard at the polls and on ineffective public policies,” said NAACP National Board Chairman Leon W. Russell. “These groups have answered the call to work with us to expand membership and our ability to educate our community on the need for aggressive civic engagement.”
Partnerships included Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with:
• The LINKS: A group of nearly 15,000 professional women of color, with 285 chapters in 41 states, the District of Columbia and the Bahamas.
• National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA): Also known as, the Black Press of America, the NNPA is a trade association of the more than 200 African American-owned community newspapers from around the United States that reach millions weekly.
• Africa-America Institute (AAI): An organization created to expand education on Africa, increase capacity building and foster relationships between Africans and African –Americans.
• National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC): Is an international organization representing nine (9) International Greek letter Sororities and Fraternities: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
“These partnerships are not simply for show but part of our strategic plan to unite the various strands of our community into working and more powerful forms of operational unity,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “We have come to understand that elections have consequences and if the consequences of the most-recent presidential election means we recognize the need for greater unity among people and organizations of color and act on it; then we are moving in the right direction,” added Johnson.
In attendance for the signing were:
Thomas Battles, chairman of the National Pan Hellenic Council; Dr. Benjamin Chavis, president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and Dorothy Leavell, chairman of NNPA; Dr. Marcella Maxwell, the LINKS national liaison; and Austin R. Cooper Jr.; government affairs representative for the Africa-America Institute. All groups will require members to join the NAACP, if not already members.
“We are entering this partnership at a critical time when voting rights are being challenged and our HBCU’s are closing,” said Thomas Battles Jr., chairman of the National Pan Hellenic Council. “The NAACP and the Divine 9 will work together in preparing our communities throughout the nation for the upcoming midterm elections, the census and beyond,” added Battles.
As part of their agreement, NNPA will provide membership forms in all of their over 200 weekly publications and provide regular weekly and monthly columns to NAACP leadership.
The NAACP’s partnership with the Black Press extends for decades but a new attack on the rights of communities of color has revitalized their relationship.
“The partnership of the NAACP and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) combines two of our oldest institutions of more than 200 years moving on the critical issues of today,” Leavell said.
Chavis agreed with her assessment.
“The NNPA proudly unites with the NAACP in a strategic national partnership to increase NAACP memberships, African-American voter registration and turnout in 2018, and to strengthen African American owned newspapers and media companies,” he said. “We applaud the leadership of NAACP Chairman Leon Russell and President and CEO Derrick Johnson for standing up to ensure effective strategies in collaboration with the NNPA and other national African American organizations.”
Not in attendance but part of the recent key partnerships signed by the NAACP was the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.