Vice President, vindicated musician: Who’s speaking at the NAACP Convention in Boston
For the first time in 40 years, the NAACP will be hosting its national convention in Boston, a city where prominent Black figures such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mel King all lived. This year, the convention, which runs through August 1, will be featuring a lineup of high-profile guest speakers from across the country. Here are just some names to look out for.
“Our city will be buzzing,” Lori Nelson, Boston’s Senior Advisor for Racial Justice in the Equity & Inclusion Cabinet told The Boston Globe. “People will be able to experience what we are as a destination city.”
U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley will be speaking at the Juanita Jackson Mitchell Youth Awards on July 31. Pressley, known for her progressive politics as a member of “The Squad,” was the first woman of color elected to Congress from Massachusetts. In her positon, Pressley has fought for reproductive justice, women’s rights and educational equality.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be speaking at the Spingarn Freedom Fund Awards Dinner on August 1 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Clinton has been a champion for women’s rights for decades. As the First Lady, she co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and worked on initiatives like the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In 2016, she became the first female presidential nominee of a major political party.
Vice President Kamala Harris will be speaking at the NAACP’s Open Public Mass Meeting on Saturday, July 29. Vice President Harris is the first woman of color to hold the position. She is of Indian and Jamaican descent. Growing up, the Vice President and her sister Maya Harris, who worked as a senior policy adviser in the Clinton campaign, were inspired by their parent’s commitment to activism and justice. Vice President Harris has brought this sense of justice to her political life. As Vice President, she has worked to protect voting rights, reproductive rights and to get America vaccinated.
Rapper Meek Mill will be speaking at the Plenary Session on Sunday, July 30. Mill, who is known for hits like “Dreams and Nightmares” and “Amen” has also been a vocal activist. In 2018, after he was released from incarceration over a crime he said he never committed, he founded the REFORM Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the number of young people who are unjustly punished by the criminal justice system. The REFORM Alliance pools leaders from a variety of fields like activism, entrepreneurship, politics and business to advocate for criminal justice reform in America.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. will also be speaking at the Plenary Session on July 30. Gates serves as the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Gates is well-known for his significant contributions to African-American literature and culture, particularly in the field of African-American studies. He his TV series “Finding Your Roots” has been instrumental in encouraging people from various backgrounds to explore their own genealogy and understand the interconnectedness of human history.
Geraldine S. Hines will be speaking at the Race and Justice Workshop: We Are Done Dying: Combating Over-Policing on July 29. Hines is a former Associate Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, she now teaches at Boston College Law School. She was the first Black woman to serve on the Commonwealth’s highest court. While on the bench, Hines authored two groundbreaking opinions. In Commonwealth v. Warren, she wrote that a Black man running from the police in Boston, “might just as easily be motivated by the desire to void the recurring indignity of being racially profiled as by the desire to hide criminal activity.” And in Commonwealth v. Brangan, she wrote an opinion that changed the bail procedure in the Commonwealth to consider a defendant’s financial circumstances in setting bail.