BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Hundreds of people from all over the state are gathering for the second day of the 64th Annual Alabama NAACP Conference hosted at the Sheraton Hotel in Birmingham.
The conference is an opportunity for people to continue the conversation about race and policing being played out across the country.
At a kickoff ceremony on Thursday, conference leaders said many of the workshops would focus on what’s going on nationally in terms of racial tensions but also coming up with solutions.
Many of the workshops will also inform people about veterans benefits, political action and voting rights.
This year’s theme is ‘our lives matter and our votes count’.
“There has to be some kind of reform in how law enforcement is implemented in the United States, most especially, when it comes to people of color and young men of color because it is obvious that the model that we have isn’t working,” said Hezekiah Jackson, president of the Birmingham chapter of the NAACP.
Conference leaders also addressed how racial tensions are affecting people living in Alabama. They commented on the recent incidents involving an attack on a student at Sylacauga High School and racial comments and threats posted online by a student at the University of Alabama.
“Tensions are high,” said Kevin Myles, NAACP Southeastern regional director. “Those of us who have been here a little longer have an obligation to help our young people navigate through these difficult times without resorting to violence and there are conversations that need to be had there are old wounds that need to be addressed”.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the family’s of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, will also speak at a banquet dinner on Saturday.
The event, Race in Policing in America, is Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel in Birmingham. The event is open to the public.