Photo of NAACP delegate preparing for Monday's plenary session with Vice President Kamala Harris by AC JosepH Media.

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

EDITOR’S NOTE: See the story on Vice President Kamala Harris’s speech by Adianna Alston at the NAACP Convention on Front Runner New This story first appeared on FRNJ Extra on July 18, 2022.

ATLANTIC CITY — NAACP delegates not only heard an inspiring speech from Vice President Kamala Harris, but a rousing address from NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and New Jersey State NAACP Conference President Richard Smith.

The morning plenary session on Monday (July 18) was already buzzing with the anticipation of Harris, the first woman and person of color ever to hold the vice presidency in the United States. Smith and Johnson, set the laid the groundwork for Harris with impassioned speeches to the NAACP base.

In his speech, Smith stressed that African Americans need to come together to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing them as a group.

“We can’t think of uniting with others until after we had first unite amongst ourselves,” Smith told the audience. “We are truly blessed to be here today, together in person realizing that the pandemic is not over, yet but we’ve come a mighty long way.

“It was just three years ago, in Detroit at our last in-person convention that our team made the presentation to the national board to get the 2022 national convention. The naysayer said we’d never do it. They said we couldn’t pull it off. They’ll never come to a little city. It just won’t happen. But we did it for the first time in 54 years.”

Smith said the NAACP plans to chart a course that will set their agenda on a wide range of issues, from race and justice, the economy, education and innovation, and the non-segregated schools, mental health, environmental justice and reproductive rights.

“This is power,” Smith said, repeating the theme of the convention. “We want you to leave here having been educated, energized, mobilized and entertained as we show the world what power looks like.”

In a roughly 30-minute speech, Johnson laid out the groundwork the NAACP has already done on behalf of African Americans that benefits the entire country. He said Blacks long contributed to the success of America to get equal portions back.

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