Edwin Edwards to address NAACP conference in Baton Rouge

Strategies to ensure the preservation of civil rights is the focus of the NAACP Louisiana State Conference to be held Thursday through Sunday in Baton Rouge.

The theme for the conference, to be held at the Marriott Hotel, is “We Shall Not Be Moved” and will also address the current state of civil rights issues.

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards will be the keynote speaker at the Saturday night banquet.

Each day is devoted to a topic and “each day we have opportunity to recognize people whose work fits into the theme of that particular day,” said Alfreda Tillman Bester, event organizer and general counsel.

The event begins Thursday with an 8 a.m. prayer breakfast and continues with a day focused on spiritual awakening. Religious leaders will speak about issues such as church polity and state law. An awards luncheon will honor the Rev. T.J. Jemison, pastor emeritus of Mount Zion First Baptist Church; the late Rev. Charles T. Smith, of Shiloh Baptist Church; the Rev. Nelson Taylor, a civil rights attorney and pastor at Allen Chapel AME Church; the Rev. Lee T. Wesley, pastor at Community Bible Baptist Church; Bishop Gregory Cooper, of the Louisiana Full Gospel Fellowship; Messenger Danatus King, president of the New Orleans NAACP branch; and Michael Mitchell, 19th Judicial District public defender.

Friday’s focus is on social and economic justice, touching on consumer rights and navigating the financial services industry. The luncheon that day honors the Rev. Ronnie Williams, president and CEO of Camelot College, and Louisiana AFL-CIO President Louis Reine.

Saturday is all about education, Bester said, with a focus on schools, funding and ways to gain an education without going into extreme debt. The luncheon honorees are Steve Monaghan, president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers; Carnell Washington, president of the East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers; Belinda Davis, president of One Community, One School District; and Clara Glasper, former chairwoman of the East Baton Rouge NAACP education committee.

The general cost to attend the conference lectures is $50. Other fees are included for access to certain portions of the conference.

Additional events include a Friday night mass meeting, Gospel Extravaganza, musical artist Lois “Love” Allmon, radio host Tony Brown and a Freedom Fund gala.

The event is open to the public. To register, call (225) 334-7490 or visit the NAACP office at 3313 Government St.