Commentary: Freedom is not free; join the NAACP

Commentary: Freedom is not free; join the NAACP
March 15
01:00 2018

Dr. William J.  Barber II, Benjamin Jealous, Fredrick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., marchers, civil rights activists, ancestors and freedom riders, left us a legacy and challenge to relentlessly forge ahead with courage, a lack of fear and the unapologetic as well as uncompromising willingness to demand voting rights, equity and equality.

The critical assignment of the NAACP must be firmly embedded in our souls, body and mindset. The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People [NAACP] is to ensure the political, economic, social and educational equality for all people.

We must be mindful of the disadvantage of getting trapped in the land mines of having an argument over Colored, Negro, Black or African American or Immigrant. Now is not the time for foolishness. The plight of minority groups is in a deadly war with the “Make America Great Again” supporters.

There was a time when we were at odds with Bubba who lived in trailer parks, but now political billionaires and citizens armed with AR-15 machine guns see us as enemies of our country.

We may have gone to sleep believing Barack Obama saved us. We thought we had fully integrated schools. We thought affirmative and voting rights were forever. Donald Trump woke us up from the coma of belief in the free pursuit of happiness in the quest for the American dream. The millenniums no longer must march, because grandma and Martin already did it.

It is an emergency order for the NAACP to reorganize, increase our visibility and convince the world that we are more relevant now than the days of the freedom riders.

There are many pivotal questions we must answer. Where are we? Where do we have to go? What groups do we need to get there? What do we have to do to be successful? What will happen if we are successful? What will continue to happen if we fail?

The NAACP needs us, recruitment, retention and financial support of new members and community-based organization as it seeks improvements in education, political activism, social, equality and economic justice for all people. This is serious business.

Is the NAACP still relevant? Why should I join? What do they do?

The NAACP has spearheaded the revoking of laws that kept Black people from voting and the court order to redraw the voting districts. Voter restriction ID laws are gone.

Reverend Barber’s leadership resulted in thousands participating in the Moral Monday Crusade to protect our rights.

The NAACP has challenged shootings of unarmed Black men.

Out-of-proportion student suspensions and expulsions have changed statewide policies of school districts.

Voter registration (especially among young people) has dramatically increased.

It is dedicated to a new transformation to ensure the public recognizes its relevancy, importance, and activities.

Since 1909, the NAACP continues to be our most tireless. capable, competent and fearless advocate.

Freedom is not free and has already cost us much pain, despairs, blood, sweat, tears and numerous lives.

We must resist the “Make America Great Again” groups who have vowed to eliminate our voting rights, keep our children in low performing underfunded schools and to publicly display racism and sexism with immunity and no apologies.

Fight, fight, fight for our pride, dignity and self-respect. “Ain’t nothing gonna turn us around,” including tweets! The NAACP is fully aware, it is a very dangerous mistake to ignore that the president is planning his re-election with the backing of the Republican Party electoral majority. The attorney general and the commander in chief are doing the work of enough racists to continue the game show that is a nightmare for minority groups.

Freedom is not free! Join and support your local NAACP.

Henry J. Pankey is an author and retired educator who has worked in Winston-Salem.

You can reach him at

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