Calling for vision and the "passing of the torch" to a new leadership that will carry the NAACP into the 21st century, U.S. Rep. Robert C. "Bobby" Scott of Virginia said the key to its past FTC successes was its focus on long-term planning.
And with continued leadership and pressure on Congress, "we can make America a better place for the next generation," he said.
Mr. Scott, Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg and several chapter and branch leaders spoke last night before about 150 members and delegates of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The gathering at the First Baptist Church of Guilford was part of the weekend's 52nd annual NAACP Leadership Training Conference for the mid-Atlantic region.
The conference, organized by the Howard County branch, comes as the national chapter is searching for a replacement for retiring Executive Director Benjamin Hooks.
Increased educational and career opportunities for African-Americans and lower crime rates were the buzz words among last night's speakers, as many tied their visions of the future to President Clinton's economic reform proposals.
"We must recognize that failure of education is a major contributor to the high rate of crime," said Mr. Steinberg, who called for a partnership among government, community and business leaders to create opportunities for African-American youths. "We must recognize that youths sell drugs because of the unavailability of legitimate jobs."
Prevention, through education and work opportunity, is the road to these changes, said Mr. Scott.
"In order to cure the country's crime epidemic, investments need to be made in our youth to reduce the chances that they get into trouble in the first place," he said.