By Adianna Alston | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY — The NAACP, since its very founding in 1909, has placed a strong focus on youth and that has remained a priority some 113 years later.
Voorhees resident Ma’isha Aziz has continued that legacy in New Jersey, working directly with the youth in the NAACP through various positions.
Those posts include the Region 2 Adult Representative for the National Youth Works Committee, New Jersey State Conference NAACP Youth Works Chair, Advisor to the NJ State Conference NAACP Youth & College, and Advisor to the NAACP Camden County East Youth Council.
“The NAACP Youth and College provides a much-needed platform for learning and training about civil rights injustice,” Aziz told Front Runner New Jersey.
Aziz said the NAACP remains relevant to youth through several beneficial opportunities.
“Within the New Jersey State Conference, we had two young people — a high school student and a college student — who had an opportunity to write two op-eds about their experience with redistricting and their experience about their community being a cohesive unit,” Aziz said of one of those opportunities where they got a chance to address important community topics.
Jasmine Jones, current President of NJ State Youth and College NAACP and past President of Rowan University’s NAACP, spoke with Front Runner New Jersey about some of the recent activities that the youth have been involved in.
“A lot of the stuff is virtual, so we do a lot of virtual information sessions, educational sessions. We do virtual watch parties for redistricting and reapportionment hearings. We just hold a lot of conversations around current events,” she said.
Some other recent events include the NAACP Camden County East Youth Council’s 6th Annual Decision Day and a Period Poverty Awareness Panel hosted by the NJ State Conference NAACP Youth and College.
Aziz said she hopes that the youth are able to take away something positive from the events that they are exposed to.
“[I hope] that they feel empowered and that they understand that they definitely can make a difference and that they’re inspired to learn more, do more, and be better,” she said.
Gia Greenidge, the Region 2 Youth board member and the Vice-Chair of Convention Planning said the NAACP is able to engage the youth through both business and pleasure.
“We do a lot,” Greenidge said. “We know how to have fun, but we also know how to deal with the business as well. We make sure that you’re very well rounded in that aspect,” she said.
Through the 113th National Convention in Atlantic City, the backyard for many New Jersey young people, the NAACP has had even more opportunities to connect with the youth.
The youth has been involved from the beginning of the convention through community service opportunities, participating in forums, information sessions and workshops as well as acting as moderators and hosts for different events.
“I definitely hope that young professionals can learn about what’s impacting their community, what’s impacting our generation and just get more knowledge in that regard, as well as participate in different discussions surrounding these topics and be able to get some type of mentorship, some professional development — just having likeminded people around them,” Jones said.
The NAACP has continued their mission of informing and enabling the youth in regard to matters of social justice and racial inequality. Their work to prepare the next generation of leaders is evident and will certainly be impactful.
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