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NAACP to have state meeting here

POSTED: January 10, 2017 4:00 a.m.

Georgia NAACP’s civil rights leaders from across Georgia will gather in Hinesville Jan. 27-28 for training in public policy advocacy, according to the organization’s state president.

Statesboro civil rights attorney Francys Johnson, who is the president, said the training will be part of the Georgia NAACP’s Civil Rights Institute and First Quarter Meeting.

Noting that the meeting here will start a week after the inauguration of Donald Trump as president, Johnson said, "Our country is at a crossroads and the Georgia NAACP is serious about training the next set of civil rights leaders, ensure Georgia moves forward. There may be a new president but the Constitution and its guarantees of civil and human rights remain the same. The NAACP intends to defend the Constitution."

The historic Dorchester Academy will host the meeting’s kickoff with a tour and community mass meeting at 6:30 p.m. that Friday. The next day, the training will be at Liberty County Performing Arts Center. Area residents are invited, Johnson said.

Each quarterly Institute touches on the NAACP six-point agenda, labeled the "Game Changers of the 21st Century," which are education, criminal justice, political representation, economic sustainability, health and youth leadership development.

This gathering will focus on criminal justice and education reforms pending before the legislature and will feature a report from the Georgia’s Criminal Justice Reform Council Chairman Michael Boggs, along with legislators, policy-makers and community leaders.

The Georgia NAACP launched the quarterly Civil Rights Institutes, which are held around the state, in 2013, along with its Moral Monday Georgia campaigns at the State Capitol as part of resurgence of interest from younger Americans in civil and human rights. Last year, the Moral Monday Georgia campaigns got national attention after protesters, including the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Johnson were arrested at the governor’s office for demanding an expansion of Medicaid under provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

During the fall election season, the Georgia NAACP and the New Georgia Project launched a voter registration and mobilization campaign that resulted record voter turnout.

This session’s focus will include protecting early and Sunday voting, as well as strengthening public funding for high-quality public schools.

"The Institute is designed to provide our units with the necessary tools and guidance needed to move Georgia forward," Liberty County Branch President Graylan Quarterman said.

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