All over the world, people are coming together to form societies. These groupings are meant to give their members a louder voice in order to overcome social huddles, injustices and generally daily challenges. Since the government cannot always be relied upon to deliver especially on sensitive issues, people have been forced to take matters into their own hands. This is not to say that societies and civil rights groups are illegal or illegitimate. On the contrary, they are legal as they have to be registered by the government and issued with a certificate allowing them to be in operation. One of the oldest civil rights groups is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It was formed in 1909 and since then it has been involved in a lot of activities; political, educational, social and even legal processes, in order to bring equality among different races in America. Initially, its influence was largely felt among the Black Americans, and indeed, it was associated with the Black Americans more than any other race. However, this perception is gradually changing as the NAACP looks to adopt an all-inclusive image in its operations.
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Since it was formed more than a century ago, the NAACP has over the period garnered support across the whole American community. Initially formed by people from different races and religious affiliations, including Whites, Blacks Asians and the religious groups most notably Christians and Jews, the association has so far seen its membership grow by leaps and bounds and currently boasts of a membership in the excess of half a million people. It has not been a walk in the park though. During the era of its infancy, the association fought for the rights of the minority American communities and during these events, it won the hearts of many and was a popular society, especially among the Black Americans. For this reason, its support among the population grew tremendously and every other day more people joined its noble course. To date, the number of the people joining the group is still on a rising trend even though it is not as large as it was a few decades ago. However the NAACP is looking forward to bringing in even more members in order to maintain their position as the largest and most influential civil society group, and in a bid to increase the intensity of their voice. The more the louder. There are benefits that accrue to members of the organization and therefore acting as an important tool in gaining more grounds in term of membership. One of the privileges that accrue to being a member of the NAACP is the nobility associated with the course. Since it is a civil rights group that fights for he rights of the downtrodden, members have the opportunity to take part in making history by joining the largest civil rights groups in America (in terms if numbers) and in the process fighting for the rights of the oppressed. Members also benefit from free representation by the organization especially on issues dwelling on breach of contract or undermining of the minority groups in any way. They get free representation by the lawyers from the organization in court cases and other legal and professional assistance from the staff of the organization. More recently, NAACP has undertaken to make it even more enticing for more people to join the organization by pledging a benefits program in which members will be able to obtain goods and services at discounted prices across the country. Members who volunteer with the organization may also get employed by the organization.
It has not been easy trying to convince people to join the group which is gradually losing ground and with it, losing touch with the people. Since racism is no longer a major issue, and it is the main reason why the organization was instituted in the first place, the organization is slowly but surely running out on propositions to vouch for. For this reason, most people see it as an organization that is slowly becoming extinct, and see no need of joining it. The platform on which it rose to popularity that of racism, has over the past few years turned around and is no longer a major issue. Besides, people have become tired of hearing the same things on racism every other day.
The NAACP has its headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. Apart from this, it has regional headquarters spread all across the country. It has offices in California, New York, Michigan, Colorado, Georgia and Texas fro the main offices. However, it has smaller offices in other states too. The mandate and task of these regional offices is to coordinate and effect activities in these states, for better service and efficiency of the organization. The organization is run by a board of governors that is made up of sixty four members inclusive of the chairperson. The current chairperson is Roslyn Brock. She tool over from Julian Bond who served until February 2010. It is the mandate of the board to elect the chief executive officer (the President) of the association. The current President of NAACP is Benjamin Jealous who was elected in 2007, taking over from the incumbent, Bruce Gordon. Down the hierarchy, there are departments that are tasked with various functions. The organization has a legal department that specializes on court cases and represents the organization and the organization’s interests in legal battles. The health department advocates for better health, particularly for the minority and researches on and makes publications on better health policies and practices for the people in particular. The organization also has a Washington DC Bureau whose function is to lobby the government and to call for changes where they need to be made. Another department that has seen much life in terms of court cases over the years since the inception of the organization is the education department. The responsibility of this department is to advocate for better education and to sell policies that are against segregation and inequality at all educational levels up to and including the universities and colleges. It particularly lays emphasis on the public schools.
The greatest impact of the NAACP so far has been felt on the political scene. Since it was formed, the organization has been in the frontline in calling for political equity, not just across the races, but also across the genders. For this reason, the organization has more often than not found itself on the receiving end of government actions and policies. Over the years, it has impacted on the political scene in different ways, most significantly, in civic education and public enlightenment on the electioneering process. The organization has held and continues to hold forums and conferences in a bid to inform the public on the importance of voting and making right choices, especially as pertains to leadership. It has also undertaken to enlighten the people through the media by conducting research and publishing reports and articles. These contributions go a long way in helping the American population make informed decisions and as the saying goes, knowledge is power. It may be noted in some places and by some people that the voting in of the first Black President in American history, President Barrack Obama that this could be the greatest fete achieved by the organization since its inception and that there should be calls for celebration. However, the NAACP has distanced itself from this and maintained that even though it is a great achievement, not just for the organization but for the whole of America, it is not their war or their goal. Their objective is to spearhead a new beginning in America in which no one is segregated upon and that the election of President Barrack Obama is a step in the right direction but does not necessarily highlight the success of the organization as the President is just one man yet they are an organization bent toward vouching for all.
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