In recent years, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, has made great strides forward to advance its mission to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. During these years, the association has helped abolish the death penalty in New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland; rolled back discriminatory felony disenfranchisement laws in Delaware and Virginia; registered 374,553 new voters and mobilized 1.2 million citizens to the ballot box for the 2012 election; created a multistate financial education and advocacy program; helped increase graduation standards for NCAA athletes; played a pivotal role in downsizing the penal system in Texas and Georgia; trained black churches to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic; and helped outlaw New York City’s stop-and-frisk racial profiling program.
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Campaign: The NAACP helped lead a national campaign in support of the Scott Sisters, two Mississippi women sentenced to double-life sentences for a 1994 crime which yielded $11. NAACP President & CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous requested a pardon for the sisters from Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour in September 2010.
Result: After a national campaign in which the NAACP obtained more than 40,000 signatures in support of the Scott Sisters' release, thousands of letters of encouragement from our e-mail list, several NAACP-led rallies and personal requests from President Jealous, Governor Barbour granted the Scott Sisters their release in December 2010.
Campaign: The NAACP advocated for the release of John McNeil, a Georgia resident who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison after fatally shooting Brian Epp on his property in self defense. Mr. Epp had threatened Mr. McNeil’s family and was charging at him when the shot was fired.
Result: After several meetings with key officials and public awareness events about the case, the NAACP was able to help secure Mr. McNeil’s release after six years.
Campaign: NAACP members in New York State rallied behind John White, supporting his family during the trial and guarding his home.
Result: After struggling for four years to clear his name, White was released from prison and reunited with his family in time for Christmas 2010.
Campaign: The NAACP's I Am Troy/Too Much Doubt Campaign made Troy Davis, a former sports coach sitting on death row after seven of nine witnesses recanted their testimony, the face of racial disparities in our criminal justice system.
Result: In a rare Supreme Court decision, evidence against Troy Davis was ordered to be re-heard and his sentence reconsidered. Though Mr. Davis was executed, our work to save his life helped galvanize support to abolish the death penalty in states across the country.
Abolishing the Death Penalty
Result: New Mexico abolishes the death penalty in 2009.
Result: Passage of death penalty repeal in Connecticut in 2012.
Result: Maryland repeals the death penalty in 2013.
Outlawing Racial Profiling (NYC Stop-and-Frisk)
Campaign: In response to New York’s racial profiling program known as “stop-and-frisk”, the NAACP and a coalition of advocates launched a campaign to bring an end to the unconstitutional practice that targets innocent young men of color. Efforts included a silent march on Father’s Day that drew tens of thousands to protest outside Mayor Bloomberg’s home.
Result: In 2013 the New York City Council passed, over a mayoral veto, laws that ban racial, ethnic and gender profiling and hold the city accountable for abuses. The campaign also helped to dissuade San Francisco’s mayor from adopting the practice in his city.
Banning the Box
Campaign: In an effort to provide formerly incarcerated citizens opportunities for employment, the NAACP advocated for “banning the box” which removes the check box on the initial employment application that asks if a person has been convicted of a crime.
Result: “Ban the box” legislation or administrative orders have been adopted in Philadelphia, PA, Minnesota, Maryland, and parts of California.
Sentencing Disparity Reform
Campaign: In response to the immense disparity in sentencing between convictions of cocaine possession and crack possession (100:1) that led to African Americans receiving significantly longer prisons sentences than their white counterparts for nearly identical crimes, the NAACP worked through its membership and directly with Congress and the Obama administration to eliminate the disparity.
Result: In 2010, Congress voted to pass the Fair Sentencing Act, which closed the sentencing gap from 100:1 to 18:1.
Smart on Crime
Campaign: In 2010, the NAACP launched the Smart and Safe campaign to highlight the problem of mass incarceration. As part of the campaign the NAACP released the report “Misplaced Priorities”, which examined the issue and provided concrete solutions. The report garnered support from both progressive and conservative leaders and organizations – including Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist.
Results: In 2012, Georgia implemented a package of new laws establishing alternatives to incarceration for low- level, non-violent offenders, providing $10 million for "accountability courts" - drug courts that focus on keeping defendants employed, in treatment and sober.
Result: In Texas, a coalition that included the NAACP and Tea Party activists helped close the first prison in the state’s history.
Repeal of Rockefeller Drug Laws
Campaign: The NAACP advocated for an end to the Rockefeller Drug Laws that sent thousands to prison instead of rehabilitation for low-level offenses.
Result: In March 2009, the New York repealed much of the State's Rockefeller Drug Laws, making it easier for poor people who are addicted to drugs to receive treatment instead of incarceration – like their wealthier counterparts.
Justice for Trayvon
Campaign: In the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy, the NAACP helped put pressure on the Sanford Police Department to continue their investigation of the case and reform their police department. The NAACP held several meetings with officials, coordinated rallies and town halls, and activated the NAACP membership.
Result: George Zimmerman was arrested and tried for the murder of Trayvon Martin and the Sanford Police Chief resigned his post. Additionally, the NAACP delivered more than 1.7 million petitions to the Department of Justice requesting that federal charges be brought against Mr. Zimmerman.
Strengthening Hate Crimes Enforcement
Campaign: NAACP supporters sent hundreds of letters and phone calls to Congress demanding tougher measures against hate crimes.
Result: Congress passed the Mathew Shepard, James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which allows the federal government to prevent, investigate and prosecute hate crimes after 13 years.
Passage of the Affordable Care Act
Campaign: During the congressional debate on the Affordable Care Act, the NAACP established an unprecedented Civil Rights Health Care War Room in Washington, DC along with the National Urban League and Black Leadership Forum. Together we generated tens of thousands of phone calls to Congress, thousands of letters, and more than a dozen visits from state NAACP leadership to Congressional leaders in Washington.
Result: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Health Care & Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 will extend health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans and will outlaw discrimination against patients with pre-existing medical conditions.
Campaign: For the past two summers, pastors throughout the nation partnered with the NAACP on the Day of Unity to preach about HIV as a social justice issue as part of a larger effort known as The Black Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative. The annual event seeks to raise awareness about HIV in an effort to stop the unequal impact HIV has in communities of color.
Result: Churches around the country are having critical open conversations about the impact of HIV/AIDS in the African American community.
Combating Childhood Obesity
Campaign: With childhood obesity on the rise, the NAACP Health Program created the Childhood Obesity Advocacy Manual to give communities the tools and knowledge they need to keep children health and active.
Pennsylvania – Strict Photo Voter ID 2013
Campaign: In response to the passage of a strict voter ID law, the NAACP launched a campaign to block implementation of the law, which included a public messaging campaign and a lawsuit.
Result: In October 2012, implementation of the law was postponed until after the election. A court has also ruled that the law will not be applied in 2013 elections.
Campaign: The NAACP launched the “Restore the Votes” campaign to eliminate the historic voter suppression tactic of felony disenfranchisement.
Result: In 2012, Virginia and Delaware eliminated felony disenfranchisement for non-violent offenders. Delaware became only the second state to amend its state Constitution for restoration of rights in the 21st Century.
Result: After a meeting with the NAACP, Iowa Governor Branstad revised state rules to ease restrictions on formerly incarcerated citizens who sought access to the ballot box.
Defending Voting Rights
Campaign: Recognizing a wave of assaults on the right to vote in state legislatures across the country, the NAACP released a detailed report titled “Defending Democracy”, and launched a campaign protect against voter suppression that began with a march outside of the Koch Brothers headquarters in New York City. The NAACP battled voter suppression in the court of law and the court of public opinion.
Result: The NAACP brought national attention to the voter suppression efforts and helped galvanize efforts to stop the attacks across the country
Result: Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican, vetoed a voter ID measure after meeting with the Michigan NAACP state conference, NAACP President & CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, and other civil rights activists.
Result: In Wisconsin, the NAACP helped stop a suppressive photo voter ID law in its tracks. The law would have impacted more than 300,000 registered voters and countless others not yet registered in Wisconsin before the 2012 election.
Result: In South Carolina, the NAACP’s work helped to block the strict voter ID law for the 2012 election.
Result: In Florida, the NAACP helped turn back attempts to cut early voting, Sunday voting and registration restrictions.
Result: The Texas NAACP state conference joined a federal lawsuit challenging Texas’s strict voter ID law and in August 2012, the federal court blocked the photo voter ID law and a redistricting law because of its potential discriminatory impact.
Result: An NAACP delegation traveled to the United Nations to raise awareness about the attack on voting right, specifically the concept of felony disenfranchisement. In response to the meetings, the UN Human Rights Committee passed a resolution on civil rights that included voting rights.
Coal Plant Closures
Campaign: In order to raise awareness that communities of color disproportionately affected by pollution from coal-fired power plants, the NAACP released “Coal Blooded: Putting Profits before People” a report that listed the coal-fired power plants that are most harmful. In conjunction with the report the NAACP launched a nationwide campaign in cities with the worst-ranked power plants
Result: The NAACP’s effort helped lead to the closure of the two worst-ranked plants (in Chicago, IL), as well as two other plant closures and two commitments to close plants by 2016.
Campaign: The NAACP mobilized support in the African-American community for the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, generating almost 1,000 comments during the public comment period. The effort helped counteract industry opposition.
Result: A strong MATS rule was finalized and will be enforced beginning in 2015.
Oil Spill Relief
Campaign: In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the NAACP generated and publicized data on corporate misdeeds through the report and film, “My Name is 6508799”.
Results: The activism helped convince British Petroleum to further compensate victims, and helped guide community response by the EPA, FEMA and other agencies.
Justice in Emergency Management
Campaign: In the aftermath of the 2011 tornadoes and flooding in Alabama and Mississippi, 2012 Super Storm Sandy, and 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes, the NAACP advocated with responding agencies, including the Red Cross, FEMA, and local government, to ensure that the needs of impacted families and individuals were met.
Result: In July 2013, the NAACP signed a groundbreaking Memorandum of Agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The agreement will put mechanisms in place to ensure that the needs of underrepresented communities are more fully incorporated into disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation-related activities.
Greening the NAACP
Campaign: To demonstrate leadership in environmental sustainability, the Environmental and Climate Justice Department established the GREEN Initiative at the NAACP headquarters (Get Ready for Energy Efficiency Now). The initiative implemented plans for cost- and energy-savings including recycling, carpooling, and an educational film series.
Result: In March 2012, the NAACP signed an agreement with Clean Currents to provide electricity for headquarter through wind energy procured through renewable energy certificates.
Help for Haitian Refugees
Campaign: In the days after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, NAACP leaders met with White House officials to discuss the plight of thousands of Haitian travelers and immigrants in the United States facing deportation to their devastated homeland and advocate for protected status.
Result: Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was granted for Haitian nationals living in the United States.
Fighting Subprime Lending
Campaign: The NAACP filed lawsuits against 14 lenders including the two largest -- HSBC and Wells Fargo -- after a review that showed "systematic, institutionalized racism" in their subprime lending.
Result: NAACP settled with Wells Fargo (and some other banks) and the banks agreed to work with NAACP to develop programs to improve access to the best loans possible in minority neighborhoods and to ensure that borrowers don't get mortgages destined for failure.
Campaign: With the economy in a recession and communities of color facing extreme economic hardship, the NAACP reconstituted its Economic Department with a focus on four primary areas: economic education, fair lending, opportunity and diversity and our newest area, community economic development.
Result: The NAACP established the Financial Freedom Center in 2011, which serves as a training facility and the primary base for financial education development and training. The program has also created more than 20 satellite financial freedom programs across the country.
Result: The national NAACP has trained approximately near 75 NAACP units — youth & college (17), adult (37) and state conferences (21)— on how to provide economic assistance and 190 NAACP units on how to provide disaster relief assistance in their local communities.
Result: The NAACP developed nine banking principles concerning fairness and mortgage lending to encourage transparency and fairness in mortgage lending and improving the relationships between financial institutions and people of color and other historically disadvantaged borrowers. Citi, Chase Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have signed onto these fair lending mortgage principles
Result: the NAACP re-launched the economic report cards on corporate diversity and inclusion. The first one, Opportunity and Diversity Report Card: Hotel and Resort Industry graded the top hotels on their diversity practices and made recommendations for how the industry can create more jobs and wealth-building opportunities in communities of color. The report also includes web advocacy tools that have been used to train activists and meeting planners to evaluate hotel diversity and hold them accountable.
Result: The NAACP has connected thousands of people to job opportunities and economic resources through its Diversity Job Fair and Financial Advocacy Community Tours.
Release of “Finding Our Way Back to First”
In December 2012, the NAACP released the report “Finding Our Way Back to First”, which identified best practices for education – including an emphasis on pre-K education; a longer school year; targeted spending; and high-quality teachers.
Result: The report has served as the foundation for pilot programs in St. Louis, MO and Lexington, KY to put the recommendations into practice.
Fisher v. University of Texas
Campaign: The NAACP filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas. The NAACP argued that the university’s affirmative action policy was indeed constitutional.
Result: The court ultimately sent the case back to the lower court, a victory for proponents of equal opportunity in higher education.
Improving NCAA Graduation Rates
Campaign: In 2012, the NAACP joined with the TIDES Foundation to call for higher standards for NCAA athletes, in response to low graduation rates by athletes of color. The NCAA responded by raising the standards for a team to participate in the men’s basketball tournament.
Result: In one year, black graduation rates for Men’s Division I basketball teams increased from 59% to 65%, while the overall rate increased from 67% to 70%.
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans
Campaign: The NAACP and other civil rights organizations used their powerful voices at the White House to develop new strategies to help ensure black students are academically prepared for the global economy.
Result: President Obama signed an executive order creating the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, which instated a new office to deal with the issue of academic achievement in communities of color.
Fighting Student Loan Hikes
Campaign: The NAACP urged Congress to take action to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling.
Result: In August 2013 President Obama signed a bipartisan bill that kept student loans at lower rates.
Voter Turnout 2012
Campaign: Ahead of the 2012 election, The NAACP launched “This is My Vote!”, the organization’s most sophisticated voter registration, education, and mobilization program.
Result: The NAACP registered 374,553 voters across the country, more than double the amount it registered in 2008.
Result: The NAACP mobilized more than 1.2 million voters to the ballot box for the election.
Campaign: The NAACP knows that there should be no second-class citizens and has been a strong advocate for immigration reform at the national and state level.
Result: The NAACP helped secure passage of the Dream Act in Maryland.
Campaign: At a meeting of the NAACP’s board of directors, the organization voted to support marriage equality as a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law. Building on this resolution, the NAACP advocated for marriage equality laws and against laws that would codify discrimination.
Result: Maryland voters approved a new law legalizing marriage equality in Maryland
Result: Minnesota voters voted down an amendment that would outlaw same-sex marriage
Result: Washington State voters affirmed a new marriage equality law.
Result: Delaware legislators passed a marriage equality law
Expanding the Digital NAACP
Campaign: To broaden the reach of the NAACP’s historic mission for the 21st century and beyond, the NAACP launched a digital media department.
Result: Started mobile subscriber program that now has more than 423,000 contacts
Result: Developed and expanded social media engagement including 233,000 Facebook supporters and targeted social media platform for Youth & College and ACT-SO called NAACPConnect.
Result: Grew email subscribers list to 1.3 million, more than any other civil rights organization.