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A Statement from the Duluth Branch NAACP President

8 Jan 2020 8:38 PM | Communications Committee (Administrator)

Stephan Witherspoon giving a thumbs up during a speech.2020: The Next Phase of the Movement - The Demand of Tangible Deliverables

The next phase of the movement consists of putting words into action and letting those actions be the catalyst to ignite essential, tangible change. It is no mystery that segregation by comfort still exists on multiple levels in our society, and this dynamic must and will change. We together as a community deal with the consequences of suicide, drug overdose, gun violence, and very little human connection. We need humanity back in a major way. 

We must pay more attention to environmental issues that affect low income and people in poverty. Toxic levels of lead in our air & water and high levels of mercury and other environmental pollutants are affecting our youth’s behavior, critical thinking, and overall health. This is happening on a much higher scale than we realize.

Gentrification is happening before our eyes, and some questions have yet to be answered on how it will affect the residents who already live in these areas. The displacement has already started.  

There is also the boundary line conversations in our public schools. If this goes in a wrong direction, it has the potential to cut funding that would be more detrimental to our African Heritage youth, Indigenous youth, and low income families.  All of these important issues directly and indirectly affect us all. You must get involved.

Make this the year the year we change our pedagogy on how we teach our youth. Be more creative and integrate more technology into the classroom. Help students bring their ideas to life, allow them to ask questions, encourage self expression, and be intentional by teaching them critical thinking techniques when it comes to academics such as math and science. 

We can start by making a bigger concerted effort to recruit professionals that best represent all cultures and social groups in our community. The realization of how intersectionality plays a role in our everyday lives must be at the forefront when working on more equitable changes on all levels in our society. The modernization or removal of discriminatory laws, policies, protocols, and procedures - especially at the highest levels in our government - must change. This should be an intentional priority in our hospitals, public schools, public offices, city positions, and other businesses that serve the community.  

In the New Year, allies to people of color, this is what you can do to ignite that change: 

Get Involved: Whether it is NAACP or other like organizations, join and use your set of skills to forward the movement.

Invest in social change: If you really want to see a more equitable society, put your money where your mouth is. Invest in organizations and people who promote it.

Call out hate speech: If you hear family, friends, and or people use hate speech call it out and let them know that it is highly unacceptable anytime, anywhere.

Show up: Go to cultural events other than yours. Participate and get your family involved. 

Vote: In this upcoming election year, show up to the polls, take your ballot, and utilize your right to vote!!

The effects of our synergy today will create the blueprint for tomorrow!! Which side of history will you be on?

Photo credit: Ivy Vainio