New NAACP partnership targets census, 2000 elections

Civil rights organization, black nonprofit to urge greater participation

August 26, 1999|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF

The NAACP and an organization of black telecommunications workers will announce a partnership today aimed at encouraging African-Americans to vote and participate in the census.

Under the joint venture, which has been in the works for several months, branches of the civil rights organization will team with branches of the Alliance of Black Telecommunications Employees, a New Jersey-based nonprofit.

"Every presidential election, we've had a registration drive. We emphasize that kind of involvement," said Rodney O. Buie, president of the alliance. This year's census activities, he said, are an expansion of those earlier efforts.

The partnership will be announced at a program tonight at the Baltimore Convention Center. Buie and Kweisi Mfume, president of the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will speak.

NAACP officials have vowed for months to make voting and census participation a priority as the nation approaches a presidential election and census count next year.

In the 37 cities where the alliance has branches, local NAACP officials will organize phone campaigns, mailings and publicity events aimed at heightening awareness, Buie said.

The alliance, founded in 1985, is a coalition of African-Americans who work with computers and telephones and in Internet businesses. It was organized by blacks, most of whom worked at AT&T, and then expanded.

Today, it has "a few thousand members" in cities from San Francisco to Kansas City to the Virgin Islands, Buie said. They mentor children in local schools and provide high-technology workshops and training to African-Americans.

The Baltimore chapter of the organization has about 100 members, he said.

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