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My friend and senior political correspondent Michael H. Cottman says it’s time for a black woman to be named president of the NAACP.  Not only does he want to see it happen, he’s using Change.Org to petition the 104-year-old civil rights organization.

“The Great” Michael Cottman, as he is known by Sybil Wilkes, says it’s time to do something different.

I’m with him, if different means doing a better job making sure that the NAACP remains relevant. If you’re under 50 I have some questions for you.

Are you a member of the NAACP?

Other than hearing about it on the news, is the NAACP something that you think about?

What is the role of the NAACP today?

What do the letters NAACP stand for?

No joke, a friend of mine had to solve a problem at his job.  One of his co-workers decided to take matters into his own hands and wrote a letter to the company threatening to take his grievance to the “NWACP.”

I think too many of us like the idea of the NAACP but don’t really buy into why it’s still necessary, and that is a problem. But if you do, as I did, and go to its website you’ll get a better understanding of what they’ve done and what they’re doing now.

Here are a few things the organization has accomplished over the last five years: it has helped abolish the death penalty in New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut and Maryland; registered 374,533 new voters; helped increase graduation standards for NCAA athletes and trained black churches to fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The work the NAACP does is ongoing.  You don’t know how many times I am asked why advocacy groups including Rev. Al’s National Action Network or Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH coalition only show up to protest things like the Trayvon Martin murder and other high-profile tragedies.  But they’ve got it twisted.

The truth is, while we’re all going about our daily lives, these groups are putting in the work. Mainstream media and even black media covers events that are attractive to their target audiences.  Reporting on what these organizations do day to day isn’t really news worthy, but it is worth noting, especially to those doubting their relevance.

A lot of people scoff at the work of Civil Rights groups until they or someone they love is wrongly arrested, fired, or murdered.

Visit the websites of the NAACP, The National Action Network, Rainbow Push Coalition, the SCLC, and the National Urban League.

These organizations are made up of hardworking, dedicated people who are doing more for us than we’re doing for ourselves.  In fact, they’re doing their jobs so well, there are generations who don’t even understand why they’re needed.

Go to and sign the petition to get a woman to lead the NAACP, but more importantly, learn more about the NAACP and then share what you’ve learned with someone else.

The thing that will kill off the NAACP faster than anything will be apathy.

Yeah, a woman at the head of the organization would be cool.  But what would be even cooler would be a push toward making everyone aware of why the NAACP is so worthy of our support—not just by saying we believe in it but by joining and being active.

It hasn’t been THAT long since the founding group—about 50 white liberals and seven black men and women—joined forces, took action against the lynching of black men and called for racial justice in Springfield, Illinois.

Let’s honor their courage and recognize that the fight for rights never ends.

“History teaches everything, including the future.”—French politician LaMartin