Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Young blacks not joining the NAACP

Nation: They can blame it on a lack of membership drives, fewer team ups with likeminded organizations. But the bottom line is the younger generation do not see the need to join the NAACP and the NAACP hasn't shown itself to relevant to young people. If they continue to have bomb throwers like Julian Bond ranting and raving then membership will get even lower. Young blacks are more apt to join the National Urban League which is forging ahead to help and advance young black professionals and communities in a modern way that I don't see the NAACP doing anytime soon.

The nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization is fighting to regain the membership it had in decades past. South Florida's black population has grown over the past two decades, but membership in the region's two largest NAACP branches has plummeted, to the dismay of civil rights communities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The Miami-Dade NAACP, which boasted 5,000 members in the late 1980s, now has 500 to 600, said Adora Obi Nweze, the state NAACP president who founded the branch. Membership in the Fort Lauderdale branch was about 2,000 in the mid- to late 1980s, said Fort Lauderdale Commissioner Carlton B. Moore, who was branch president then. As of last month, membership was about 250, according to one member. The decrease mirrors the national trend. Membership is down to 300,000, from 500,000 several decades ago, according to NAACP leaders. The primary reason, experts say, is that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is not drawing younger members -- 35 and under -- at the same rate it is losing older ones. NAACP members blame the drastic decline on the lack of membership campaigns, fewer partnerships with similar organizations, and the lack of community activism -- on voter empowerment, discrimination and other programs -- that entices people to join. ''The civil rights generation is getting quite old now,'' said David A. Bositis, senior research associate at the Washington-based Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. ``The young generation isn't likely to join organizations like the NAACP.''

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