San Antonio proved to be another fabulous choice for the NAACP as the 109th Annual Convention, held July 14-18th, concluded on Wednesday. The national convention attracted thousands of young and old, with many witnessing the best of what our Black culture represents and has to offer the world.
Pictured here is the NAACP Texas Youth & College Division at the 2018 Juanita Craft Mitchell Awards Gala.
A major area of concern that every NAACP Branch President worries about is the how well are they able to recruit the next generation of youth leadership. Taken from the NAACP website, “the purpose of the NAACP State/State Area Youth & College Division shall be to inform youth of the problems affecting African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities, to advance the economic, educational, social and political status of African- American and other racial and ethnic minorities and their harmonious cooperation with other peoples, to stimulate an appreciation of the African Diaspora and other people of color’s contribution to civilization; and to develop an intelligent and militant youth leadership. These objectives shall be pursued in accordance with the policies of the Association.” This purpose is the bulls-eye of advocacy that shapes how Black people will either win or lose the on-going civil rights battles that are fought in terms of illegal discrimination and unfair treatment.
The 109th convention, showed the host state, Texas, with the NAACP Texas Youth and College Division earning a total of 9 awards, leading the pack. The “Best State Conference Youth & College Division in the Nation” was presented to NAACP Texas Youth and College Division for the eighth time! The Texas NAACP College Advisor, Ericka Cain, was recognized as the Best College Advisor in the nation for her work – her seventh time earning top recognition. She says, “it’s definitely surreal at times. The youth have done an exceptional job at putting in the work. The award gives me hope that our sons and daughters’ future are secure.” The Division was also presented the “Best Overall in the nation for Civic Engagement Advocacy”.
Summer Thompson, NAACP TX Youth & College Division State President said,” I hope to maintain the productivity of our state conference by ensuring that units are focused on producing programs that align with the 6 NAACP Youth and College Game Changers: Civic Engagement, Education, Employment and Economic Empowerment, Environmental and Climate Justice, Health, and Juvenile Justice.”
The remaining seven NAACP Texas Youth and College Unit Awards are very
significant. The University of Texas-Arlington won best overall in the nation for Juvenile Justice advocacy. Baylor University won best college chapter in the nation. Baylor University also won best overall in the nation for Employment and Economic Empowerment Advocacy. Huston Tillotson University won best overall in the nation for Health advocacy. University of Houston won 2nd place out of all of the NAACP college chapters in the nation for having the most NAACP memberships in a college chapter. Mr. Derrick Lewis II won the outstanding youth leadership award for region 6 of the NAACP. Last but not least, Jaedyn Whitley from the Garland Youth Council won 2nd place in the NAACP Idea Lab Competition.
Summer adds, “we hope to achieve all the goals set before us, especially in helping our units to better finance themselves through fundraisers and business or corporate solicitation. Ultimately, we become much stronger in social justice as we are able to increase the amount of active youth councils and assist them in building good relationships with their local NAACP college chapter.”
H-E-B’s James Harris states, “Our company particularly enjoys supporting the youth division of the NAACP. We see great results and great stewardship over the investment we provide with the other partners. I am very proud of the accomplishments of the host NAACP San Antonio Branch and their leader Mr. Oliver Hill and the NAACP Texas Youth and College
Corporate Advisory Board- H-E-B
Ericka Cain says, “What we have in Texas is really rare. We are successful because of people like James Harris. When I was Youth President in 1997 he was with us…and now in 2018 as I am the Texas State NAACP College Advisor, James and H-E-B continue to be with us. James really cares about how the Youth come up. Overall our corporate advisory helps the youth with internships, employment, marketing, and family development. We are family. I am also proud of our units that competed in the Ideal Lab sponsored by Wells Fargo to help with our business and entrepreneurial development.”
Cain adds, “the NAACP is still relevant. Every Black family should have an active membership! In Texas 2,200+ youth members are in various youth councils or college chapters pushing for the full rights of African Americans.”