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  • 7 Nov 2019 8:55 AM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Janet Kennedy photo

    Across the nation, Tuesday’s elections produced record wins for candidates of color, women, transgender people, and other historically underrepresented groups. Duluth’s City Council election was no exception. The Duluth NAACP wishes to congratulate our Vice President Janet Kennedy on her historic election to the Duluth City Council in the 5th District. Janet will be the first African American to serve on the Council, and brings decades of expertise as a strong community advocate, a career professional in the healthcare industry, and is a lifelong resident of West Duluth.

    Janet ran on a platform of community-centered economic development, building vibrant neighborhoods across our city, and promoting equitable access to healthcare and transportation for all Duluth residents. Her commitment to these important issues are vital to a just future for our community, and embody the Duluth NAACP’s mission “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons, and eliminate race-based discrimination.”

    More broadly, representation by people of African heritage and other historically marginalized groups is critically important at all levels of government. The Duluth NAACP honors the hard work of Janet and her campaign team, and hopes to continue making strides toward more anti-racist political gains in our community and beyond.

    To get involved in the Duluth NAACP Political Action Committee or other branch initiatives, or to join the NAACP please visit our Committees or Join page at duluthnaacp.org.

  • 30 Oct 2019 2:11 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Xavier Bell

    Message from the President:

    The Duluth Branch NAACP would like to pay homage to Mr. Xavier Bell for his unconditional love and leadership in our community. He was the definition of a true servant leader. His passing is a tremendous loss and a major blow to our community and he will be sorely missed! May he rest in peace!

    -- Stephan Witherspoon

    Funeral Information

    November 2, 2019
    2 pm - Visitation
    3 pm - Celebration of Life
    Peace United Church of Christ
    1111 N. 11th Ave E.  
    Duluth, MN 55805

    People are encouraged to carpool and, if they are able, park near Myers-Wilkens Elementary School to save parking spaces for people who need to be closer to the church.

    The service will be live streamed on Peace Church’s Facebook page for those not able to attend in person.

    Official Message from the Bell Family: 

    “X loved his family, others, and most importantly, God. He gave people a purpose. He was a father to the fatherless and was a source of life, positivity, kindness, and love. He lived his life as a lover of music and a soldier of social justice. We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and are overwhelmingly grateful to the St. Luke’s nurses, doctors, and staff, in addition to members of the community who have helped us through this trying time. The family would like to request privacy at this time.”

    The Family Freedom Center is the dream of Bell’s that started in 2015 as an initiative to bring the black community together.  Our organization is to focus on the needs, cultural heritage, and to be a resource for families in the Duluth area. Last year, the Family Freedom Center found a home of its own in Lincoln Park and expanded to include the Family Freedom Summer program that was inspired by the Freedom Schools that took place during the civil rights movement. 

    “X was a giant in our community. He dedicated his life to building bridges and fought for diversity and equality. There was no one like him,” said longtime friend Carl Crawford. 

    “Spending time with X was always such a joy,” Mayor Emily Larson said. “He was so passionate about the work that he did, and for the impact that it had on our community. He led with his heart, and that led him to accomplish incredible things. His passing is a huge loss for Duluth and our state.”

    Xavier left us to continue doing that work that he loved. It is our responsibility to continue his mission and his work that has touched so many lives in our community and beyond. The Family Freedom Center staff, its Board of Directors, and Xavier’s family are dedicated to bringing Xavier’s goals to fruition and will do so in his memory. 

    Our organization and the Bell family would like to invite the community to celebrate Xavier’s life on Saturday, November 2, at 3:00 p.m. at Peace United Church of Christ. 1111 N 11th Ave East, Duluth MN 55805.  Visitation at 2:00 pm. All are welcome.


    About the Family Freedom Center: The Family Freedom Center seeks to empower the Black community by reconstructing socio-cultural narratives and unapologetically embracing what it means to be Black, both historically and present day. We will do this by exploring alternative means of education and providing resources that bridge the gap between community and students. This bridge will engage members of the organization with love, respect, guidance, knowledge, and pride. The Family Freedom Center fosters positive change in various systemic landscapes that directly impact the Black community while being inclusive to the Duluth community at large.

  • 18 Oct 2019 1:20 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Free, light refreshments available

    The Duluth NAACP Criminal Justice Committee is proud to sponsor “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot”, a speak out, panel and Zine-Making on the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation on October 22 at the UMD Garage, 1st floor of the Kirby Student Center.

    The event will begin with a curated speak out where biographies of victims of police brutality will be read, followed by a panel of local experts discussing the history of policing, their continued militarization, the culture of safety and a future free of violence. Following the panel, attendees are invited to join in Zine making, focused on the theme “A World Free of Violence”.

    Partnering organizations include: Duluth NAACP, Superior Save the Kids, Duluth Save the Kids, and the College Chapter of the NAACP of the University of Minnesota Duluth.

    To learn more, visit the Facebook Event Page or contact criminaljustice@naacp.org.

    What: "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" speak out, panel and Zine-Making event
    Where: When: October 22, 2019 at 5:30PM - 7:30PM / UMD Garage, Kirby Student Center
    Cost: Free
    Members of the media should arrive 15-30 minutes prior to the event to conduct interviews so as not to disrupt the event itself.

  • 25 Jun 2019 11:57 AM | Anonymous

    We need financial support to make membership in NAACP College chapter and a Youth Council we are working to establish more affordable.  Can you make a donation to help us reduce the cost of membership from $10 to $5? For every $5 you give, you can help us recruit another student or youth to be a part of the NAACP.  

    Click here to make a donation (please add Youth/College Chapter in the memo line). 

    Please note that the Duluth NAACP is a 501c(4) organization and contributions are not tax exempt. 

  • 14 Apr 2019 7:23 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    decorative imageThe recent appearance of posters throughout Duluth and Superior promoting a white nationalist hate group should be concerning to us all as a community, but especially to citizens who are the targets of such groups. As the National NAACP stated recently, “domestic terrorism...has been the hammer and chisel used to chip away at the humanity of Black Americans and the suppression of our political power” and “it’s high time we prioritize the threat posed by domestic terrorism.”

    We call on Duluth, Superior, and surrounding cities to make a unified commitment and take a public stand against white nationalist groups and the hate they foster. The first and easiest step is through public statements. Beyond that, we ask that our city leaders publicly accept personal responsibility for promoting a community commitment to ensure that black, brown and every citizen has dignity and feels safe living in the Twin Ports and in surrounding cities. We also encourage our community members to stand up and hold people accountable when they see or hear hatred-filled actions.

    We are confident that our community and the city at large will stand together in solidarity to speak up and take action against hate rhetoric in any form. Together we can work to eradicate hate in all its forms; within our families, neighborhoods, and throughout our cities.

    Hate creates fear, and fear creates division, and we need to stand strong as a community; a difference can only be made together.

  • 21 Mar 2019 4:50 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Photo of Climate marchers by The Climate Reality Project on UnsplashHealthcare design and operations have a significant impact on community and environmental health. It is well understood within healthcare spheres that social and environmental determinants are the largest influences to individual health. Across the nation, hospitals and health systems are leveraging their economic positions and moral standing in communities to address our climate emergency and support livable economies for all and future generations. In Duluth, Vision Northland should not only include, but lead in the promotion of environmental health and justice by modeling environmentally sustainable, economically and environmentally just practices for the broader society and global community.

    Finally, we believe and recommend that the Essentia Vision Northland (VNL) project and future operations must include a recognition of the disproportionate burdens and health inequities that people of color bear and that this understanding and a commitment to environmental equity be made explicit as a VNL goal as well as future Essentia operations goal.

    We support the investments the project will bring forth for health and jobs. We ask that the city and project developers to consider increased conversations with stakeholders, and the social, economic and environmental impacts of the project on the communities overall health and how it impacts everyone living, working, and playing in Duluth.

  • 20 Mar 2019 4:45 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    In April 2018, thirty-five Duluth community members attended the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, visiting sites where racial terror had occurred along the way. Among them were several members of the Duluth NAACP, who have agreed to share their experiences on this journey.

    Claudie Washington was, at the time of the recording, the 2nd Vice President of NAACP-Duluth Branch and President of the Twin Ports African American Men’s Group, as well as former long term President of Duluth NAACP and former Vice President of the Minnesota & Dakotas Area State NAACP Conference. Ivy Vainio is chair of the Duluth Branch NAACP Communications Committee.

    Content Warning: Due to the violent subject matter, some of the events discussed in these Duluth to Montgomery Reflections interviews may be unsettling.

    Credits: Duluth to Montgomery Reflections produced by Ivy Vainio, Becky Nelson, Abby Dillon, and Nat Harvie. Our theme music was composed by Jake Vainio.

    Transcript will be available soon.

    To hear other episodes, visit the main Duluth to Montgomery Reflections podcast page.

  • 20 Feb 2019 4:42 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    In April 2018, thirty-five Duluth community members attended the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, visiting sites where racial terror had occurred along the way. Among them were several members of the Duluth NAACP, who have agreed to share their experiences on this journey.

    Portia Johnson is a Duluth respected elder, civil rights activist, and lifetime member of NAACP. Ivy Vainio is chair of the Duluth Branch NAACP Communications Committee.

    Content Warning: Due to the violent subject matter, some of the events discussed in these Duluth to Montgomery Reflections interviews may be unsettling.

    Credits: Duluth to Montgomery Reflections produced by Ivy Vainio, Becky Nelson, Abby Dillon, and Nat Harvie. Our theme music was composed by Jake Vainio.

    Transcript will be available soon.

    To hear other episodes, visit the main Duluth to Montgomery Reflections podcast page.

  • 5 Feb 2019 10:42 AM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

    Moments in the Movement-2019 Freedom Fund DinnerDuluth’s NAACP chapter is excited to announce our 2nd Annual Freedom Fund Dinner. Following in the footsteps of the national NAACP, recognizing this is a time for action and change, the event, Moments in the Movement, will be held February 22nd, 2019 at Clyde Iron. The theme of our event aspires to highlight those moments that brought awareness of inequities and injustice and continue to encourage us to mobilize our communities to work together for change.

    Moments in the Movement includes a graphic design art exhibition on the theme by UMD graphic design students, live entertainment and keynote speaker Dr. Mary Canty Merrill,  Entrepreneur, Psychologist, Educator, Advocate, Author, Speaker, Provocateur, World Traveler-Dr. Mary’s most recent literary project—scheduled to launch in early 2019—is entitled, Why Black Lives Matter (Too): Voices of Our Youth. It is Part 2 of her popular and thought-provoking anthology, Why Black Lives Matter (Too): A Revolutionary Call to Action. As a seasoned professional and social justice advocate, Dr. Mary is committed to developing viable solutions that address critical issues by examining race, improving relations and getting to collective impact.

    We will also showcase the accomplishments of the Duluth NAACP and celebrate the work of social/racial justice leaders in our community.

    This year’s MC is local cultural and Naptural style trendsetter, UMD office of Diversity and Equity advisor Sandra Oyinloye

    Doors open at 5:00 for the art exhibition and the dinner and program begin at 6:00. For more information visit the website: duluthnaacp.org/freedomfund

    Tickets may be purchased on the website (duluthnaacp.org/freedomfund) with a credit card or PayPal account or by check or money orders made out to “Duluth NAACP” with “Freedom Fund Dinner” in the memo line. They can be mailed to the following address: P.O. Box 494 Duluth, MN 55801 ATTN: Freedom Fund Committee.

    Tickets for the event are $60 which includes a yearly membership to the NAACP.

  • 16 Jan 2019 11:36 AM | Communications Committee (Administrator)
    MLK 2019 events flyer - details in article textDuluth and Superior are honoring and celebrating the legacy of Civil Rights Movement leader, Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a series of tribute events from January 20 - 21 coordinated by the Duluth Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). These events are free and open to the public.

    This year’s theme is “The Current Crisis” which comes from an article by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., submitted for publication in March of 1958. In the article under the full title, “The Current Crisis in Race Relations,” King tells us that the crisis had been affirmed by the reactions of the country to the Supreme Court’s decision to integrate schools.

    Dr. King also speaks to the theological reasoning for nonviolence and integration. Nonviolence combats the evil committed by individuals rather than combating the individuals committing evil. As we contextualize his ideology today in our fight for justice and racial equity, we remember that our fight isn’t between individuals but with the systems of oppression that affect each of us. As King says “The tension is at bottom between justice and injustice.”

    We will honor Dr. King in this year’s events including:

    • Interfaith Worship Service - January 20, 4pm at Peace United Church of Christ - 300 E 2nd St, Duluth
    • Community Breakfast - January 21, 7am at First United Methodist Church - 230 E. Skyline Pkwy, Duluth
    • March - January 21, 10am at Washington Center - 310 N 1st Ave W, Duluth, MN 55806 & March begins at 11:15 AM
    • Rally - January 21, 12 pm at the DECC - 350 Harbor Dr, Duluth.
    The Inter-Faith Worship Service will include remarks from Rev. Tracey Gibson of St. Mark AME Church; Dr. Jerel Benton, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity at UWS; Rickie Defoe, Fond du Lac Ojibwe tribal member and spiritual advisor; and Rabbi David Steinberg of Temple Israel. Performers will be the Wayman A.M.E. Men's Chorus including Henry Banks.

    The Community Breakfast will feature a free, hot, delicious meal provided by the Duluth Grill and served by the African American Men’s Group; a presentation by First United Methodist Church Pastor Jeanne Alexander; and a live-streamed broadcast of the Twin Cities MLK Day Celebration. The program’s emcee will be Stephanie Williams of the planning committee.

    The 2019 MLK March will host a variety of youth and community activities, giveaways, and refreshments starting at 10am, and the March will begin promptly at 11:15am.

    The 2019 MLK Rally keynote speaker is Minneapolis resident, singer-songwriter, and Black Lives Matter activist Me’Lea Connelly. She is the founder of Blexit, a grassroots economic resistance organization and the Director of the Association for Black Economic Power. The Rally emcee is Tolu Ekisola, a local actress in her final semester at the University of Minnesota Duluth completing a BFA in Musical Theatre and Deaf Studies. Performances from Deiondrea VanDassor and Joyce Biddle, the ARE Poets, and Majur Attraktion will also take place along with the City of Duluth’s Proclamation, installation of NAACP Officers, and amazing giveaways! The 2019 Drum Major for Peace Award Recipients for youth, adult, and organization categories will be announced at the Rally as well.

    All events in the MLK Tribute series serve to inspire and educate our community, honoring the work and life of Martin Luther King, Jr. through meaningful local community engagement. For the first year ever, we have available a series of 2019 MLK Commemorative Posters created to our theme for pre-sale with all proceeds going towards supporting the events. Visit duluthnaacp.org/shop to order today. They will also be available at the Inter-Faith Worship Service and the MLK Rally for pick-up. Posters will be sold at the events while supplies last.

    For more on all of our MLK Tribute events, please visit duluthnaacp.org/mlk.

    The 2019 MLK events are made possible this year by the American Indian Community Housing Organization, American Lung Association, Blackbird Revolt, Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial, DanSan Creatives, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Duluth Grill, First United Methodist Church, Interfaith Action Of Greater Saint Paul, ISD 709 Duluth Public Schools' Office of Educational Equity, Ivy Vainio & Arne Vainio, M.D., Minnesota Environmental Partnership, National Audio Visual, Northland Foundation, Peace United Church of Christ, Temple Israel, The College of St. Scholastica, The University of Minnesota Duluth Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Trans Plus, and Wisconsin Public Radio.

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