NAACP convention expects to bring 500 to Warner Robins

mstucka@macon.comApril 24, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- An NAACP of Georgia convention will bring as many as 500 people to Warner Robins for a meeting and civil rights training beginning Friday evening.

Tonza Thomas, secretary of the state organization, said the training sessions are aimed at creating a more successful democracy. The event is formally called the Second Quarter Meeting & Civil Rights Institute.

“We can find out who the unregistered voters are in our hometowns, and we’ll be able to send them information about their polling place,” she said.

Scheduled discussions include talking about moving forward in states with threatened voting rights; tackling economic inequalities to create economic sustainability; and helping young people work to change their interactions with law enforcement. Training in the Voter Activation Network is also scheduled.

Thomas, of Columbus, said of particular interest will be discussions on gun violence. Houston County Democrats have the only ballot question in the state that asks about whether the Stand Your Ground law should be repealed. State legislators and the governor this year approved a bill that strengthens the law.

“Because Houston County is the only place in Georgia that has Stand Your Ground on the ballot, we’re going to tear that thing up,” she said.

The conference will be held at Warner Robins CME Church, 200 Othal H. Lakey Circle, Warner Robins. That’s just off Russell Parkway, between Ga. 247 and Davis Drive.

People can register in person Friday or Saturday. The welcome reception begins at 6 p.m. Friday. The keynote speaker is the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. preached. Representatives of local NAACP branches, Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms, Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker and state Sen. Cecil Staton are also scheduled to appear.

Events Saturday begin with a breakfast at 7:30 a.m., with the first panel discussions beginning at 10:30 a.m.

Youth tickets are $15, while adults pay $25. Thomas said everyone is welcome.

“We are not a closed society,” she said. “We are not a black organization. We are a civil rights organization, and it has no color.”

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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