Photo of NAACP convention chair Michael Turner and Hazel Dukes by AC JosepH Media.
BY CLYDE HUGHES | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY — Michael Turner, chair of the NAACP national convention planning committee, said the conference is expecting to accept President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Atlantic City in about two weeks, but their attendance is not yet official.
Turner, a powerful nationally known labor leader in Detroit, told Front Runner New Jersey, said he did not expect the potential visits to be ironed out until roughly a week before their visits because of scheduling.
The NAACP national convention will be held in Atlantic City from July 14-20, the first time since the 1960s that the convention was held in the resort city. This will be the first in-person NAACP convention since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019.
“We’re excited and we’re going to energize the soul, the brain and the heart,” Turner said. “We’ve got people coming, exciting individuals coming from all around the country. We fully expect, either or both the President of the United States and the Vice President to come. And we’re just glad to be back in progress for the first time since 2019.”
On Wednesday, July 20, the NAACP will bestow its highest honor, the Spingarn Medal, to U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., a close personal friend of Biden. Biden has credited Clyburn with reviving his presidential campaign during the South Carolina Democratic Primary in 2020.
Turner said one of the reasons for his excitement, along with the potential visits from Biden and Harris, is the energy surrounding the convention. He said all of the initial hotel room blocks for the Atlantic City convention have been sold out and convention officials have spent the past weeks negotiating to get more rooms at convention rates for attendees.
“We have so much interest and excitement in our delegates,” Turner said. “Our observers want to come to this convention.”
Turner said what makes the NAACP different from many civil rights organizations, and especially its national convention, is that it involves the entire family — from the ACT-SO academic competition, NextGen events to seniors.
“We’re the only convention that pretty much invites the entire family,” Turner said. “You get three generations of families who come to the convention. We bring you a different dynamic, so whenever you bring the family together, that’s power.”
Turner said he wanted to highlight the work of three people who has made the upcoming convention a success so far — New Jersey State Conference President Richard Smith, Atlantic City NAACP President Kaleem Shabazz and Meet AC Vice President Sandi Harvey, along with the New Jersey State Blue Ribbon Committee.
“Working with those three people and the committee has been very enjoyable, and they have put so much hard work into this,” Turner said. “They have all been outstanding in helping us put this together.”
The convention starts with the ACT-SO competition on July 14 at the Tropicana Atlantic City.
The Opening Public Mass Meeting to kick off the major activities of the convention will be held at the Atlantic City Convention Center on Sunday, July 17. The convention will conclude with the Spingarn Medal Award dinner on Wednesday, July 20.
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