OC NAACP Offers Legal Redress, Youth Council
By Dianne Anderson
In these volatile political times, Orange County NAACP is taking on a heavier mandate, proactively tackling issues of race hate and addressing the rise in local requests for help.
Through a new initiative, the community can access streamlined referrals to attorneys through the state’s Legal Redress committees.
Local branch president Deirdre Harris said the platform provides an easier way to access attorneys, which is needed as there has been notable increase in race related incidents and discrimination.
“This concerning pattern reflects the larger societal challenges we are confronting. Our NAACP California-Hawaii State Conference created the Stop the Hate outreach program to increase awareness and resources to dismantle racism in historically vulnerable groups,” said Harris, local branch president.
In her role as president, she said one goal is to increase community collaboration with organizations, including youth, which has a big impact in helping the community become empowered. The organization also works closely to help local families in difficult economic times.
Last month, they partnered with Friendship Baptist Church and OC Black Moms for the local chapter’s signature Back to School Stay In School Rally where the NAACP provided 140 students with backpacks and school supplies.
Recently, the organization also partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to raise awareness, and help advance vital resources for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. African Americans are more impacted than other groups by the disease, and she said they plan to participate in the 2023 Walk to End Alzheimer’s event coming up on November 4 in Huntington Beach.
In another partnership with Amazon’s Black Employee Network, the local branch is bringing the community up to technological speed through generous support from the City of Irvine.
“Together, we are working diligently to empower underrepresented youth by creating pathways to careers of the future in technology through our transformative “Future Forward Program,” for youth ages 16-26. This partnership stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to paving the way for a limitless and equitable future,” she said in an email.
Collectively, she said their chapter’s outreach and community gatherings engage many volunteers. They also continue to reach out through education campaigns, voter engagement, and voter registration drives.
For the big election year ahead, the local chapter will draw more community engagement by hosting candidate events to open up dialogue, where voters can ask questions and express their concerns. They will also learn where the candidates stand on the issues, and their values.
“We are committed to ensuring that our community is well informed and empowered to make meaningful decisions that impact our lives. We will organize meet and greet events with potential candidates to provide our community with direct access to those seeking office,” she said.
On the youth side, the chapter collaborates with local schools and colleges to educate students about the electoral process and encourage them to be active participants.
Justice Crudup, director of the recently formed NAACP OC Youth Council, said his program works with teens up to 25 years old, and their youth are bringing more energy to outreach.
Coming up, he said everyone is stoked about their 2nd Annual Black-only surfing event, “A Great Day in the Stoke,” featuring the largest gathering of Black surfers in the nation. The September 16 event will be held at Huntington Beach Pier, with the local chapter Youth Council volunteering.
His main focus is to educate the BIPOC community in Orange County about what the NAACP is doing on a national scale, as he pushes for more recruitment with Black youth and youth of color.
“I’m working with Chapman and Cal State University Fullerton. specifically with the BSU’s at both colleges. We’re hiking up our involvement. On September 18, the NAACP Youth Council and NAACP OC will be part of the student involvement there at Chapman University,” he said.
Many youth still think the NAACP is just for the elders, but he said the organization is making headway at the legislative level. He feels the youth council can reinvigorate the base with the elders at the helm.
Because the organization fights nationally for racial justice, youth can also access tools and resources to impact policy. Later this year, the local chapter is taking four of their youth council representatives to the state conference in Las Vegas where they can see how other affiliates work with policy leaders at the national scale.
“They get to meet different types of NAACP dignitaries and delegates who vote on national bills that the NAACP legislature or lobbyists take to Washington. They get to see the actual action and how youth are so important when it comes to pushing policy forward,” he said.
To learn more about the Future Forward Program, see https://future-forward.splashthat.com/
To access the NAACP Legal Redress Committees, see https://cahinaacp.org/legalredress/