The NAACP (the National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People) has a long and illustrious history of supporting legislation, programs and institutions that promote the needs of African-American people. Since its inception in 1909, this civil rights organization has evolved and continues to be relevant to the African-American community. These days, the NAACP works at federal, state and local levels to promote its diverse concerns.
The NAACP's mission statement gives a broad sense of the benefits African-American people derive from it. The organization strives to support educational, political, economic and social equality of rights regardless of people's color. The NAACP also seeks to identify, eliminate and prevent racial hatred and discrimination.
The NAACP states that it advocates for African-American people by addressing seven areas. These areas include access to health care, education, criminal justice, economic empowerment, civic engagement, the challenges of poverty, and international affairs.
The NAACP is most known for its role in doing research, making statements and publishing literature about political issues affecting African-Americans. Other programs the NAACP actively organizes include ACT-SO (the Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics); civic engagement actions, such as voter registration drives; economic empowerment campaigns that support African-Americans gaining representation in various professions; gathering of volunteers for relevant causes; health awareness campaigns; media monitoring; the re-enfranchising of ex-felons; advocacy for women of color; and campaigns targeting youth.
Educational initiatives and advocacy are at the heart of many of the NAACP's contemporary concerns. The organization has set up departments, led initiatives, lobbied in Washington, conducted research and published information in regard to educational disparities for African-American youth. Among the key issues are school resource equity, teacher quality, family engagement, early childhood education and literacy. One of the NAACP's standout initiatives is Back to School/Stay in School, which supports youth with academic and social programs in hopes of decreasing the dropout rate among African-American students.
The NAACP continues to broaden its scope to contend with contemporary issues. A recent NAACP Youth Power Summit included workshops addressing the impact of HIV and AIDS on African-American adolescents and the stereotypical images of inner city youth that persist in some hip-hop music.