NAACP gets pitch from top Republican
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele addresses the NAACP 100th anniversary convention Tuesday in Manhattan
The 100th anniversary convention of the NAACP in Manhattan may seem an unlikely place to try to sell the Republican Party, but thats just what GOP chairman Michael Steele did Tuesday.
The GOP and the NAACP have very often missed real opportunities to communicate and engage each other, said Steele, the first African-American to be elected chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Steele, 50, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, who won a protracted battle to head the party after its resounding defeats on election day last year, joked with attendees at the week-long convention being held at the Hilton Hotel.If a black man can become chairman of the Republican National Committee, then anything is possible, he said.
The changing face of the NAACP and of national politics were very much on the minds of convention goers, who will be addressed by President Barack Obama Thursday and whose proceedings Tuesday took place as Sonia Sotomayor sought to become the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court.
We have to get ready to look at what this countrys becoming: A melting pot of leadership, said Adrian Jones, 38, a delegate from Nashville. Now the minority groups are the majority.
Lottie Tann, 67, the NAACPs New York state treasurer, said the organization is now focused on inequities in education, health care and the criminal justice system.
Today racism is still alive but its a different animal, said Tann, of Brooklyn.
She said the local chapter had fielded thousands of requests to see Obamas speech, which will be his first official event in the city.
Its a wonderful thing that is happening in our 100th year, she said. When he came to speak to us during the campaign he promised he would be back.