NAACP Opens 109th National Conference in San Antonio

The 109th national convention of the NAACP opens today in San Antonio, with the theme 'Defeat Hate, VOTE!, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Several thousand delegates, participants, and visitors from all fifty states are on hand for the high profile event.

"As we tackle the difficult issues facing our nation, the theme, Defeat Hate - Vote was chosen to convey that the only way we can overcome recent instances of implicit bias, racial prejudice and intolerance is to use our vote as our voice this November, and elect officials that will uphold the dignity of our democracy," the organization said in the program for their convention.

NAACP Chairman Leon Russell said one priority will be to fight back against voter i.d. laws, voter roll purging, gerrymandering, and other efforts he says are simply an attempt by Republican lawmakers to suppress the overwhelmingly Democrat Black vote.

"This overall efforts from certain persons in policymaking positions to prevent people from casting unfettered votes," Russell said in his opening news conference.  "Voter suppression is something we have to work constantly against."

He says there are several initiatives of the Trump Administration the NAACP will also work to stop, including elimination of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which was formed after the Great Recession of 2008 to rein in banks and investment houses.

"We see an effort to dismantle consumer protections," he said.  "Our people suffer the most from financial discrimination."

He also blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his effort to 'restart the war on drugs.'"That was just a war on Black men," he said.  "It was an arrest and put away to create an unpaid work force for certain industries in this country."

The convention will include a 'Hip Hop Summit,' various programs for young people, and several seminars designed to improve the ability of African Americans to organize get out the vote efforts and make their voices heard in debates like the upcoming battle over th nomination of Brett Kavananugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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