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NOW holds discussion on diversity issues
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

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Promoting equality and diversity and ending discrimination and racism were the topics of a panel discussion at the National Organization for Women (NOW) annual conference at the Hilton Chicago hotel July 6.

The workshop was moderated by NOW's outgoing Membership Vice-President Allendra Letsome and the speakers were Jeanetta Williams, president of the NAACP Salt Lake branch and NAACP tri-state conference of Idaho, Nevada and Utah; and Edward Lewis Jr., a certified trainer for the NAACP tri-state conference of Idaho, Nevada and Utah and chair of the NAACP Salt Lake branch's annual life membership and freedom fund banquet.

They spoke about the NAACP's elements for a successful diversity plan, the tools to end discrimination and promote equality, and the history of the organization.

Williams explained that the elements essential for a successful diversity plan are a definition of what it means to be diverse, an assessment of the need or justification for such a plan, a mission and vision statement, a statement of priorities and goals, delegation of responsibilities and accountability.

The NAACP also includes the LGBT community within that diversity plan, according to Williams. Among the victories that the NAACP has had over the years, Williams mentioned the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

Lewis remarked that the NAACP works on advocating for legislative issues, not specific candidates for political office. Of the recent Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision to strike down part of the Voting Rights Act, Lewis noted that the NAACP called SCOTUS's decision an act of judicial overreach.

The NAACP supports marriage equality and celebrated the recent SCOTUS ruling to overturn section three of the Defense of Marriage Act, said Lewis.

During the Q&A session, a member of the audience thanked the NAACP for their work to achieve LGBT equality across the board. Questions also focused on the history of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution; drug policies and school reform as they relate to minority students; ending discrimination in schools, where should people focus their energies going forward; avenues of mobilization; and how individuals can combat intentional and unintentional segregation as they navigate their lives.

See for more information.

Related stories:

Political roundtable held at NOW conference 2013-07-06 here: .

NOW focus includes marriage equality 2013-07-06 here: .

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