LDS Church and NAACP Announce Plans for Education and Employment Initiatives

Contributed By Danielle Christensen, Church News staff writer

  • 17 July 2018

Elder Jack N. Gerard, a General Authority Seventy, announces a new joint education initiative by the Church and the NAACP at the 109th NAACP Annual Convention in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.

The Church announced plans on July 15 for collaborating more extensively with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

According to Mormon Newsroom, Elder Jack N. Gerard, a General Authority Seventy of the Church, gave an address during the 109th annual national convention held in San Antonio, Texas, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Elder Gerard spoke on the common goals both the Church and the NAACP hold.

“I’m pleased to announce that we will together launch an education and employment initiative with an eye towards national impact beginning in cities like Baltimore, Atlanta, and Camden, New Jersey,” Elder Gerard stated. “We envision joint NAACP and LDS activities and projects all over this nation. We do not intend to be a flash in the pan; that is not our style, and we know it’s not yours.”

These new education and employment initiatives include professionally developed training course materials to help improve the quality of life within communities. Course topics range from increasing income to gaining an education to managing personal finances. Members of the Church and the NAACP, in addition to those of other faiths, will help instruct the courses in places of worship and in community centers across the country.

Elder Jack N. Gerard, General Authority Seventy, announces a new joint education initiative by the Church and the NAACP at the 109th NAACP Annual Convention in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.

Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP national board of directors, speaks during the 109th NAACP Annual Convention at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.

Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, stated that the organization is looking forward to working with the Church on a deeper level, Mormon Newsroom reported.

“I am proud to stand here today to open up a dialog to seek ways of common interest to work towards a higher purpose,” he stated.

In May, the First Presidency joined with leaders of the NAACP, delivering a statement on the importance of serving all of God’s children. In the statement, President Russell M. Nelson cited “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” while delivering a message that all people are brothers and sisters to each other. (See related story.)

“Today, in unity with such capable and impressive leaders as the national officials of the NAACP, we are impressed to call on people of this nation, and indeed the entire world, to demonstrate greater civility, racial and ethnic harmony, and mutual respect,” he said. “Together we invite all people, organizations, and governmental units to work with greater civility, eliminating prejudice of all kinds and focusing more on the many areas and interests that we all have in common.”

Read the full story on the NAACP convention here.

The Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, an independent LDS choir, performs “Calvary” during the 109th NAACP Annual Convention at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.

The Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, an independent LDS choir, performs “Calvary” during the 109th NAACP Annual Convention at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.

The Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir, an independent LDS choir, performs “Calvary” during the 109th NAACP Annual Convention at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Photo by Edward A. Ornelas, for the Deseret News.