The NAACP is alive, relevant and, according to the UMKC NAACP Youth and College Division, they will always be.
Steve Ricard, NAACP Member of the National Board of Directors, set the record straight during an NAACP meeting in the Student Union last Monday.
The UMKC NAACP held an informational meeting where they invited students to learn about the organization and listen to Ricard share about the significance of the NAACP as a whole.
“As long as you have this association, you will never have to worry about someone coming to take what we’ve fought for,” Ricard said.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was created on Feb. 12, 1909. Its mission is to “ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.”
Almost 107 years to the exact date of its formation, there is much discussion about whether the NAACP is still a viable source for the Black community.
UMKC NAACP President Erika Pearson said that students do not see the value in the prestigious organization. Pearson expressed a growing concern about how UMKC could possibly go about recruiting students to join the NAACP.
Ricard suggested bringing awareness to their #iMatter campaign, which was created in the past year as a way to focus on improving community safety by addressing the problem of gun violence and police brutality.
This seemed to resonate with many of the students that began to fill the room. With the recent events that have occurred on various predominantly white campuses all over the United States regarding students of color, the NAACP is working to use this momentum to persuade students to join their organization.
“If there are any problems on campus, the NAACP is the first place that they should be going to,” Ricard said. The problem is that this is often an organization that is looked over, and that needs to change. “You can’t be relevant if you can’t do anything but complain.”
Ricard said that the NAACP, although slower to jump onto social bandwagons, is most certainly working behind the scenes to still advance people of color in every way.