NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson, delivered a galvanizing speech to members, delegates and supporters of the NAACP at the opening plenary session of the 110th National Convention. Focusing on the state of politics in the U.S., President Johnson reminded the crowd that Black Americans have always been at the forefront of social justice policy in this country.
Taking the stage just minutes after Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who alongside Congresswomen Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and Ilhan Omar, was the subject of racist language from President Trump, Johnson said, “[They] are more American than he ever could be. No one can be more American than us.”
Johnson established that the NAACP Convention would be the place to set the Black agenda for the upcoming 2020 election. Ahead of a forum featuring ten 2020 presidential candidates, Johnson remarked that the Black community would not respect those who pander for their vote, but rather those who worked for it and put forth equitable policies that are steeped in civil rights.
“This is where we set the Black agenda; this is where the voice of Black America will be heard,” he said. “Whether you’re a democrat or a republican, if you take the Black vote for granted we won’t vote for you.”
The Presidential Candidates Forum featured a Q/A session moderated by White House correspondent, April Ryan. Candidates for the forum included Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Bill Weld. Presidential candidate, Marianne Williamson will spoke earlier in the week.
Prior to his remarks, Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House addressed the delegation.
Johnson’s speech also called to the strength of Black women, the commemoration of 400 years since the trans-Atlantic slave trade, for which the NAACP will journey to Ghana, and the new direction for the NAACP.