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Obama candidacy: Writing a new page in American history

Senator Obama has accomplished an incredible first for the African-American community, and for the United States. Barack Obama is the first African American to be nominated for President on a major party ticket.

This historic event shows just how far this country has come to healing the racial divides that have plagued our history as a nation. But along the way the campaign provided some painful reminders of just how much further we have to go to achieve true equality for all Americans.

This is a day that should make us all proud, and then it should make us redouble our efforts to protect those rights that many have given their lives to secure. And for 100 years, that’s exactly what the NAACP has done.

As a bipartisan, 501 C3 organization the NAACP doesn’t get involved directly with candidates. What we do, I think better than any other organization, is organize the voting efforts of the African American community. This year the NAACP is focused on four things: voter registration, voter education, election protection and getting out the vote. We’ve been hard at work already, and over the summer you’ll be hearing more from us as we roll out new phases of our program. But here are just a few updates.

NAACP and its coalition partners have already registered hundreds of thousands of new voters, and we are expanding our efforts so that we can reach even more young people through technology and field efforts on college campuses. Our goal is to register many thousands more new voters between now and November with an eye to increasing African-American voter turnout by 5%.

Earlier this year the NAACP’s Washington Bureau published its annual Congressional Scorecard so that voters could see how their representatives in Congress have voted on civil rights issues. We also published the written responses to the NAACP’s Presidential Questionnaire, distributed to all campaigns earlier this year.

In July, when the NAACP holds its 99th Annual Convention in Cincinnati, John McCain and Barack Obama will participate in the NAACP’s Presidential Forum. The Forum will give the candidates the opportunity to answer questions on issues that are critical to civil rights and to communities of color. The NAACP will distribute this information through its network so that every voter has access to unvarnished information about the candidates’ positions.

Over the next several months, our work together will help define the future of civil rights in this great country. I hope that we can count on you to stand with us in every way possible.

Julian Bond, Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors, submitted this release to Mr. McMoore. All questions should be directed to the NAACP Washington Bureau at (202) 463-2940



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