The New NAACP: Upload 2 Uplift

Upload 2 Uplift: NAACP Voter Registration ToolYesterday afternoon, I participated in a call with new NAACP President & CEO Ben Jealousheld a press conference with Black bloggers and members of the Black press to kick off his tenure and discuss his top 2 priorities: helping Hurricane Ike survivors and ensuring full participation in the upcoming election.

NAACP and Hurricane Ike

According to Jealous, the NAACP National Office sent 3 of its staff people to do two things:

  1. Ensure fairness in the distribution of aid
  2. Ensure the sins of Katrina are not repeated

They’ve got their work cut out for them, and Jealous actually told us something else disturbing about the lead-up to the storm:

Some poor communities complained to the NAACP that they were not adequately warned of the storm, its seriousness, or the voluntary/mandatory evacuations. This is because the warnings happened almost exclusively on TV, and these people had no TV.

People with questions in the state and out of state can call the NAACP Command Center, which is at their Texas State Conference, at (512) 322-9547.It is a travesty that the NAACP’s Command Center is set up before FEMA’s.

Making sure peoplve vote

While Jealous is working to make sure that folks in the wake of Ike get proper aid and electrical power, he and the NAACP are working hard to make sure that those folks’ electoral power is also fully restored and available. The rights of voters in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina was a major issue, and I actually marched in support of the re-enfranchisement of those voters. Upload 2 Upift: NAACP Registering People to Vote

In what Jealous called “a sign of things to come,” he announced Upload 2 Uplift, a website that gives people the ability to do 2 things:

  1. Register themselves to vote online, or print out registration forms that they can mail in
  2. Register their friends and contacts to vote

#2 is very important, and it’s this “social voter registration” capability that really sets this tool apart from other online voter registration tools. Many  people know they have friends that are not registered to vote. If you know that person’s email address, you can give them a very simple way to register quickly online. Additionally, the system will send people reminders by email and/or text message to let them know when to vote and where to vote, if they want it too. Pretty cool.

A great start

This was a good meeting for Jealous, and he demonstrated a new way of thinking about the NAACP and about advocacy & civic engagement. By including Black bloggers in his first press conference, Ben Jealous showed that blogging and other forms of new and online media will be an important part of the NAACP’s strategy going forward. By creating its first real online tool, the NAACP shows that technology and the Internet will be important parts of their strategy going forward. I am looking forward to see what they do with this momentum.

One Love. One II.


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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

One response to “The New NAACP: Upload 2 Uplift”

  1. Afro-Netizen says :

    Bravo, Garlin, for documenting the substance, symbolism and potential of the NAACP under its new president!

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