The New NAACP: Upload 2 Uplift
Yesterday 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:
- Ensure fairness in the distribution of aid
- 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.
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:
- Register themselves to vote online, or print out registration forms that they can mail in
- 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.