All out to two important October conferences
Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas, M.Ed. | 10/7/2017, 6:33 a.m.
The dog days of summer are not behind us, and the September Equinox has brought us my favorite season. I want to alert readers about two minority-centered events on issues of concern to the black and Hispanic communities, which are scheduled this month in New Jersey. The double-whammy of events will see die-hard faithful attendees, first –time participants, senior age advocates, youth and a heathy dose of baby-boomers.
First up, from October 5-8, the New Jersey NAACP State Conference is set to host its 2017 convention at the Hilton Parsippany Hotel, under the theme “Relating to the Past, Understanding the Present and Preparing for the Future,” in Parsippany, NJ. Second event, the 7th Annual Hispanic Leadership Conference & Awards Gala, will be held on October 21, at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ, with the theme “Uniting Communities, Overcoming Challenges”
As I travel around the Garden State and ask regular grassroots folks if they are aware about these two most important conferences, I encounter many, who either don’t know, don’t understand the purpose and others who simply don’t care. As many of us advocates for civil rights spread the word, looking to get people to attend these conferences, we have to clarify the misconception that these conferences are only for civil rights stakeholders, which include paid agency leaders, volunteer community activist, pastors of different faiths and denominations, and many who have been directly affected by discriminatory practices against persons of color and other groups.
Both conferences will feature working sessions, position resolution on many topics of interest to these two communities, for the purpose of designing specific actions aimed at strengthening these communities’ on-going civil rights efforts. The conferences are looking to regain some of the traditional fraternal spirit of communication, cooperation and coordination between these two growing populations. The groups will encourage various activities where both can unite around. The organizers of these conferences are encouraging our younger generation of African-Americans and Hispanics to become more involved with the New Jersey NAACP State Conference and the Annual Hispanic Leadership Conference Committee.
When I moved to New Jersey and took up in a township not very welcoming of blacks and Latinos, I met a group of Caucasian men, who have a very condescending view of minorities. They had an ideology that runs counter to the American values of justice and equality of opportunity. It seemed that they did not understand that together as a diverse people of all backgrounds, we all played a role in making our nation one of the most desirable places in the world to live. After experiencing the views of these uniformed and privileged men, I have dedicated myself to transition into this majority European community to serve as a shining point in the lives of the people of New Jersey.
As a Hispanic member of the NAACP, I come from a nation where Taino Indians, Europeans and Blacks from the Yoruba tribe from West Africa mixed it up to create the Puerto Rican people. I urge members of both communities to support and attend both conferences, where a host of workshops, motivational speakers, bread breaking breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and opportunities to socialize as people of color will be the order of the day.
Events like these should bring us together as New Jersey’s largest minority groups to talk about making Democracy ring true for us also in these challenging divisive times in America. We need to show policymakers and corporate leaders that our numbers are strong and working together as a united force, we can and will create an America that works for all of its people. This month issue is featuring information on Latinos to show solidarity between the Black and Hispanic communities. I use the good name of the NAACP to call Americans to support issues of concern to the growing black and brown communities of South Jersey and beyond.
I encourage all residents of South Jersey to attend either conference or both conferences and bring younger folks with you. You can visit http://www.njscconvention.org/ and http://www.hispanicleadershipnj.com/
Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas, M.Ed., serves as communications chair and special assistant to Loretta Winters, president of the Gloucester County NAACP and 2nd vice-president of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference.