Since 1941, the NAACP has been the premier civil rights advocacy entity on Capitol Hill. The NAACP was a leading force behind the enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the 1968 Fair Housing Act, the 1991 Civil Rights Restoration Act and the 2002 Help America Vote Act, the most current reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act among countless others.
The NAACP Washington Bureau turns NAACP priorities, as approved by the National Board of Directors, into federal public policy through the legislative process. Priorities include:
The NAACP works to ensure that all disadvantaged students and students of color are on the path to college or a successful career by ensuring access to great teaching, equitable resources, and a challenging curriculum. We are dedicated to eliminating the severe racial inequities that continue to plague our education system. Our ultimate goal is that every student of color receives a quality public education that prepares him or her to be a contributing member of a democracy.
To achieve these goals, the Education Committee of the national board, in concert with education chairs and leaders from across the Association, have settled upon a four-prong strategy to improve educational achievement for disadvantaged students:
Environmental and Climate Justice
Environmental injustice, including the proliferation of climate change, has a disproportionate impact on communities of color and low income communities in the United States and around the world. The NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program was created to support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue.
In the past, and to some extent still now, when people think of environmentalism, they often think of saving the whales or hugging trees! When folks think about climate change, what often comes to mind are melting ice caps and suffering polar bears. Historically, American society has failed to make the connection in terms of the direct impact of environmental injustices, including climate change, on our own lives, families, and communities, all of whom depend on the physical environment and its bounty.
Race is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in this country.
Toxic facilities, like coal fired power plants and incinerators, emit mercury, arsenic, lead, and other contaminants into the water, food, and lungs of communities. Many of these same facilities also emit carbon dioxide and methane – the #1 and #2 drivers of climate change. At the same time not all are equally impacted. For example, race – even more than class – is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in this country. And communities of color and low income communities are often the hardest hit by climate change.
Environmental injustice is about people in Detroit, Ohio, Chicago, Memphis, Kansas City, and elsewhere who have died and others who are chronically ill due to exposure to toxins from coal fired power plants and other toxic facilities.
Climate change is about the increase in the severity of storms which means that storms like Sandy and Isaac, which devastated communities from Boston to Biloxi, will become more of the norm. our sisters and brothers in the Bahamas, as well as Inuit communities in Kivalina, Alaska, and communities in Thibodaux, Louisiana and beyond, who will be losing their homes to rising sea levels in the coming few years.
Climate change and other environmental injustices are about US.
Climate change and environmental injustice are about sisters and brothers from West Virginia to Tennessee who are breathing toxic ash from blasting for mountain top removal.
Environmental injustice and climate change are about the fact that in many communities it is far easier to find a bag of Cheetos than a carton of strawberries and this only stands to get worse as drought and flooding impact the availability and affordability of nutritious food.
The Environmental and Climate Justice Program works at addressing the many practices that are harming communities nationwide and worldwide and the policies needed to rectify these impacts and advance a society that fosters sustainable, cooperative, regenerative communities that uphold all rights for all people in harmony with the earth.
Over the years we have accomplished many endeavors aimed at advancing the leadership of frontline communities and ending environmental and climate injustices. Take a look at a few of our successes!
The mission of the NAACP is to ensure equal political, educational, social, and economic rights for all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. This mission includes a focus on the right of African Americans and other people of color to have optimal health outcomes and access to timely, quality, affordable health care. African Americans continue to have the highest incidence, prevalence and mortality rates from chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, and issues like HIV/AIDS continue to overwhelm the Black community more so than any other racial or ethnic group.
The NAACP is committed to eliminating the racial and ethnic inequities that exist within our health care system that undermine communities of color their life opportunities and their ability to contribute fully to the common good.
The NAACP Economic Department recognizes the importance of the economy and economic issues in advancing an equal opportunity society and aims to address the challenging economic realities facing our country including poverty, lack of jobs and disproportionate high unemployment, lack of affordable housing, foreclosures, etc. The NAACP Economic Department’s work enhances the capacity of African Americans and other underserved groups through financial economic education; individual and community asset building initiatives; diversity and inclusion in business hiring, career advancement and procurement; and monitoring financial banking practices.
The NAACP has fought against negative portrayals of people of color in film and television since “Birth of A Nation” in 1915. Today the NAACP Hollywood Bureau is a satellite of the National office that deals with issues of diversity programming and minority employment in Hollywood, and oversees the production of the NAACP Image Awards.
The NAACP advocates for smarter, results-based criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe, including treatment for addiction and mental health problems, judicial discretion in sentencing, and an end to racial disparities at all levels of the system.
The United States is home to the world’s largest prison population. As “tough on crime” laws have put an unprecedented number of non-violent offenders behind bars in recent years, our neighborhoods feel no more secure.