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Boston NAACP Launches Summer Job Pipeline to Leadership Program

NAACP Training Next Generation of Civil Rights Leaders
July 2012NAACP Boston

In July, the Boston NAACP launched the Summer Job – Pipeline to Leadership Program, aimed at preparing the next generation of civil rights leaders. The Program pays a stipend to 16 youth to work for the Boston NAACP, while also receiving leadership training. The youth, all between the ages of 14 and 20, hail from high schools throughout Greater Boston and some local colleges. The students provide a new face for civic engagement, community activism and social justice.

“In July, we put out a call on Facebook for youth to support our street team, distributing NAACP materials,” said Supreme Richardson, Boston NAACP’s Community Coordination Chairman. “Within hours we received over 75 inquiries of parents and youth seeking jobs or volunteer opportunities, which showed there was a demand for summer jobs.” The Boston NAACP then reached out to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino for help in securing the funds to create summer jobs. Within days, the Mayor enthusiastically responded and helped the branch to secure a $25,000 grant to hire youth.

“Based on the Mayor’s assistance and some very committed volunteers, we decided to morph the program into a summer job and leadership development program,” said Michael Curry, Boston NAACP President. “We understand that our community not only needed summer jobs for youth but also a program that engaged them on models of black leadership, race and racism, effective advocacy, community mobilization and the various issues.”

Youth Accomplishments

Within the first four weeks of the seven week summer program, the students have registered over 350 residents of Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan to vote, and often engaged residents in the importance of voting. Their non-partisan voter registration efforts are part of the Boston NAACP’s “This Is My Vote” Campaign, intended to increase voter registration and participation in Boston’s communities of color. They are also trained in emergency preparedness and health disparities. The Youth will soon take to the streets to engage residents on the risks of a disaster or a pandemic and on disparate health conditions that plague our communities. “In a short time, we have realized just how important youth can be to influencing policy, changing attitudes and raising awareness,” said Herb Lozano, Youth Director for the summer program. Herb is entering his senior year at Norfolk State University and anticipates a B.A. in Communications and Journalism. “We are making a difference, and I get an opportunity to gain some practical experience in my field,” said Herb.

In terms of leadership, the students have participated in trainings on public speaking, personal branding, canvassing, civic engagement, NAACP and Civil Rights history, mass incarceration, race and racism, conflict resolution, resume writing, event planning, as well as marketing and promotions and ethics. “Our hope is to expose these young men and women to the basic building blocks for effective leadership,” said Cheryl Clyburn Crawford, 2nd Vice President of the Boston NAACP and Administrator for the program. “What does it take to be an effective Black leader, and what are the pitfalls? That’s what we want these kids to understand.”

Anti-Violence Rally Planned

The students are planning an anti-violence rally for the summer with a focus on impacting the culture of violence in our communities. They were charged with finding ways to get other kids to influence the actions of their adult family members. “We know that youth have the power to transform families and influence behavior, which is essentially a cultural revolution,” said President Curry. “That model works for all communities and all races in a society increasingly impacted by senseless violence.”

The Youth are also shadowing the Boston NAACP leadership and recently participated in a meeting with the U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and the Boston FBI regarding discrimination, hate crimes and diversity. Youth will attend upcoming meetings with the Department of Labor, the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratory (NEIDL) and the Boston City Council.

As we turn on the news this evening and continue to see images of young black and brown boys and, recently, girls being murdered or arrested for crimes, it is important to show another side of the youth in our community. These kids represent the majority of youth of color—talented, eager to learn, curious and demanding a role in improving our city.

Upcoming Events and Trainings:

  • Financial Literacy Training - Book "I Got Bank" by Teri Williams, One United Bank, Tuesday, August 14, 9:00am – 10:45am
  • Youth Anti-Violence Rally (Malcolm X Park), Saturday, August 18, 11:00am – 3:00pm
  • Boston FBI Presentation, Tuesday, August 14, 11:00 am – 12:30pm
  • HIV/AIDS Training, Friday, August 17, 12:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Tour & Discussion with Boston Globe, Monday, August 20, 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Note: The program participants work out of the Boston NAACP office, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 12:00pm – 5:00pm, and Saturdays 10:00am – 3:00pm.

About Boston's NAACP

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors. The Boston Branch is the first chartered branch, established in 1911.


Michael Curry, NAACP

Posted: August 13, 2012     Nancy J Conrad

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