2022 and Beyond Q&A with CA/HI NAACP President Rick L. Callender ESQ.

2022 and Beyond Q&A with CA/HI NAACP President Rick L. Callender ESQ.

By Anna Hopkins, Communications and Public Relations Chair, CA/HI NAACP

From the worldwide pandemic, criminal justice and environmental justice we face an overwhelming amount of issues that disportionaly impact African American and all communities of color. As you lead California and Hawaii NAACP into your second year – how do you prioritize the issues at hand?

We are at a critical juncture.  The pandemic has had a major impact on all communities of color with Black and Brown communities suffering the most.  We can not ignore the need for all African Americans and people of color to get vaccinated and boosted so we can participate in the great California and Hawaii economy.  As for criminal justice, environmental justice, educational equality and so many other issues that directly disenfranchise and create inequality for our Black and Brown communities, know the CA/HI NAACP will be there, will be watching, will be advocating, and will be fighting forward for justice.  We can’t just say one issue is our priority when we are still running last in the race for equity.  We are prepared and we are in the fight. And as such, we will fight and we will win!

You shared in 2021 your vision to strengthen committee structures within CA/HI NAACP Branches, in 2022 and beyond what goals have you set to support Branch Leadership growth while creating a space and seat at the table for NextGen Leadership?

I am excited to say that the mass majority of our committees are functioning with many members from throughout the states of California and Hawaii.  We are now repopulating the committees for 2022 so that we can continue to take on issues which are in the interest of the NAACP.  I encourage any members that want to get involved with a CA/HI NAACP Committee to contact their local Branch so that they can also get engaged.

NAACP leads the fight in civil rights and social justice as you lead California and Hawaii NAACP into 2022/2023 technology will continue to be the most beneficial communications tool and resource available in this fight. How will CA/HI NAACP support its 57 Branches in advancing their use and understanding of the power of using technology in the fight for civil rights?

Empowering the Branches with virtual training sessions, access to digital tool kits, pre-design marketing assets to be used in advocacy efforts are at the forefront of my Communications and Publicity agenda for 2022.

Technology is POWER and knowledge is POWER – knowing how to use technology properly will allow our Branches to move forward in their fight for civil rights with confidence and strength.

When technology is properly implemented into advocacy work, our voice will always make an exponential impact. There is no doubt that when we come together statewide – as one voice – – we are force to be reckoned with.

This year we enter an important election year to elect statewide leadership. Historically Black voter turnout has been low – we saw an increase in the 2021 California Recall election due to volunteer efforts led by CA/HI NAACP.

What efforts will you set forth to continue to protect our democracy while ensuring Black voters are engaged and educated early in this election year.

2021 saw the CA/HI NAACP for the first time engage our Branches through CA/HI NAACP grants to employ grassroots efforts to get out the vote.  I encourage you to stay tuned, that was just the beginning of our efforts to empower African Americans and people of color to get out our vote in a way which supports our communities.  We will not back down, and we will not allow California or Hawaii to not not hear our electoral voice.