The NAACP is bringing a new look and feel to the game. More gay and diverse people are joining and gaining leadership positions.
"This is the new NAACP," said Clark University political science professor Ravi Perry, the new chapter president in Worcester. "This is a human rights organization, and we have an obligation to fight discrimination at all levels."Some worry that this new NAACP will move away from the classic Black issues. However, NAACP wants to end discrimination towards all people of color, so to be real, this is a natural changing of the tide.
NAACP branches have been recruiting gays, immigrants and young people who grew up in a world far removed from the landmark 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that outlawed school segregation. Now, leadership positions that were once held only by blacks are being filled by members of other racial or ethnic groups.
The group does not keep track of numbers, but in recent years NAACP chapters in New Jersey, Connecticut and Georgia have elected Hispanics as president. A white man was picked to lead the chapter in Aiken, S.C. And two years ago, NAACP members in Hamtramck, Mich., a Detroit suburb, selected a Bangladeshi American to revive their long-dormant chapter.
"Some people mentioned that it wouldn't be possible for me to be president," said Victor Diaz, 32, a Dominican American who ran against an incumbent and was elected president of the Waterbury, Conn., branch in November. "But when I ran, I won 3 to 1."