This week, Oak Ridge is hosting the NAACP Tennessee State Convention and Civil Rights Advocacy Conference.
It’s the 73rd annual NAACP Tennessee State Convention, and it starts today (Thursday, September 26) and continues through Saturday, September 28.
Thursday’s events will be held at Oak Valley Baptist Church in Oak Ridge. The events on Friday and Saturday will be at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge.
The Anderson County/Oak Ridge NAACP Branch under the leadership of local president Dave Anderson is the sponsoring branch, a press release said.
The convention will feature a variety of events and workshops that will 1) encourage attendees to become civically engaged around religious affairs, and 2) assist in expunging the records of people wanting to return to the workforce, the press release said. Other actions include helping members become more effective in their work related to advocacy, human rights, and youth empowerment—all designed to equip people with the necessary knowledge to assist in making their voices and votes count, the press release said.
Thursday, September 26, is dedicated as Religious Emphasis/Community Day, and the day-long activities are being hosted at the Oak Valley Baptist Church at 194 Hamilton Road in Oak Ridge. A press conference is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., immediately followed by a luncheon at noon, the press release said. Reverend Derrick Hammond will be the keynote speaker.
Concurrent and following this event will be a two-hour expungement clinic (2 to 4 p.m.) Following the luncheon will be a two-hour community health forum (2 to 4 p.m.).
The concluding event of the day will be a welcome reception at 5 p.m. and a mass meeting from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The keynote speaker for the mass meeting will be Reverend Willa Estell, presiding elder, Maryville District African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
“Adding excitement and beauty to the whole day’s gathering will be the performances of several choirs from the Oak Ridge/East Tennessee area,” the press release said.
Friday, September 27, given the banner of Freedom Friday, will begin with an advocacy breakfast followed by an education forum at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Ridge. After the breakfast and forum, there will be a labor/human rights luncheon and forum, advocacy, and legislative updates.
The final event of the day will be a community town hall and social gathering held on behalf of the Youth and College Division, the press release said.
Events for the concluding day, also held at the DoubleTree Hotel, for Saturday, September 28, will be hosted by the Women in the NAACP (WIN) and the Youth Adults and Youth and College divisions. The WIN breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. Reverend Donna M. Butler, keynote speaker, will energize women in ways to use their existing talents and skills in helping to address numerous political concerns, the press release said.
Following the breakfast, individualized sessions for youth and adults will be offered as a means to help the attendees engage in advocacy in specific areas currently targeted by the NAACP. These are called “game changers” in economic development, education, etc.
A Vernon Jarrett Youth Awards Luncheon is scheduled for Saturday to honor this year’s youth advisor of the year. Last year, Ralph Mack of the Oak Ridge/Anderson County NAACP chapter was, at the 2018 State Convention, recognized as the leader of the best youth council—Oak Ridge. Additionally, Oak Ridge and Knoxville high school students will be performing at this luncheon and at times throughout the convention.
The final day will culminate with the Freedom Fund Awards Dinner, beginning at 6 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel. NAACP branches will be recognized for their significant contributions to the organization and community engagement. Pastor Emeritus Harold Middlebrook, who worked closely with the late Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. will be the featured keynote speaker at this exciting and concluding event, the press release said.
Again, all Friday and Saturday activities will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel, the press release said.
Those involved in organizing this important event are from NAACP branches in the Oak Ridge, Maryville, Knoxville, Roane, and Kingsport areas.
“We encourage the community to come out and support this event, enjoy performances from our local talent, and network with long-time and new friends,” the press release said. “Sharpening one’s toolbox of tools and resources can assist people in becoming more effective in their advocacy work.”
For more information, call Deloris Collins at (803) 645-8032.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
You can contact John Huotari, owner and publisher of Oak Ridge Today, at (865) 951-9692 or [email protected]
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