Several members of the NAACP San Luis Obispo County branch attended the practical and inspiring California/Hawaii State NAACP Conference in Los Angeles October 26-29, 2017. The theme for this 30th annual conference was “Moving Forward in Times of Uncertainty.” This collective gathering of activists, pioneers, and leaders helped us move forward emotionally and intellectually with plans and strategies to improve society for all.
Cheryl and Stephen Vines were joined by Mark Buchman, Dwight Gray, and Rachel Duchak as well as California Governor Jerry Brown, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, former San Francisco mayor and California State Assembly speaker Willie Brown, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and a raft of gubernatorial candidates including State of California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, California State Treasurer John Chiang, and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as well as other state and national leaders. If you want to know the importance of African-American voters in California, all you had to do was walk a few feet and you would encounter another high-profile person who wanted to be seen as an ally of NAACP members. We will hold them to their promises: our votes are valuable. We make things happen on voting day: California government definitely recognizes this fact.
The presentations and discussions ranged from interacting in a more pro-social way with law enforcement officers to choosing a people-focused path through the healthcare debate, to understanding cannabis legalization as a civil-rights issue, to confronting the reality behind the national anthem’s compromised composition and meaning, particularly in light of the political protest thread in sports these days. Personally, I found the sometimes chaotic resolution process at the end of the conference a clear window into the soul of what motivates, aggravates, and inspires your fellow NAACP members. It was wonderful, particularly as managed with the unique touch of President Alice Huffman.
We cannot overstate the value of making an effort to attend a regional training, this California/Hawaii state conference, or NAACP National. These are the places where relationships develop healthy bonds that make future collaborations possible and highly productive. There was a universe of information shared at this conference. The attendees will be happy to discuss this outstanding experience when next we meet.