More than any other event this week the 101st NAACP Convention defined the new era in civil rights.
For a change, it was nice that Kansas City was the focus of national headlines as the convention started out with criticism of the disparity in the BP oil spill cleanup, The First Lady came in to town to talk health but ended up noting the disparity that still exists in this nation and at the close of the convention shook the nation by calling out the Tea Party on the racist elements in their movement.
Still, with all the headlines there a couple of elements of the convention that were left unexamined.
After talking to a couple of folks who attended the convention, I noticed that one of the major themes was working to facilitate a stronger relationship between older members of the organization with the younger generation. The impact of The Millennial Generation is being felt in the African-American community as well, and their ability to reach this demographic will determine their success. This convention was filled with younger folks and a great deal of the content was focused on youth. So obviously, they’re addressing this concern.
Finally, there’s a bit of good news for KC that came with the convention. The P&L District basically bent over backwards to cater to this group and their goodwill might have been a bit of redemption for early accusations of discrimination that plagued Kansas City’s party palace. I don’t know if this bit of branding will endure but it was noted by a great many local African-American leaders and that should be good for rebuilding its damaged reputation.
Ironically, Kansas City’s Downtown development started out with a fear of a large African-American presence and now it turns out that it was this very same group that has offered folks inside the loop a bit of a second chance.