Lehigh Valley

NAACP Allentown chapter hosts annual state conference

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Hundreds gathered at the Renaissance Hotel for the NAACP's annual state conference hosted this year by the Allentown chapter.

"There's an excitement that generates when we come together," said Esther Lee, president of the Bethlehem NAACP.

Members from across the state of Pennsylvania came to be part of this convention and its deeply rooted history.

"It's great to see that we all get together and work and we're for all people," said Walter Felton, vice president of the Allentown NAACP.

Organizers say the convention is an opportunity for NAACP members from across the state to come together to discuss new ideas and hot button issues.

This year's guest speakers include Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey and Gov. Tom Wolf.

"Inclusion, fairness, diversity, those things...they aren't just buzz words, not just some ideological orientation. It's practical business," Wolf said.

Among the list of events this weekend - a seminar titled Violence: A Public Health Crisis - something some members say needs to be addressed.

"When I was a girl, the only gun I saw was a rifle when my father went hunting and what's happening now, it just seems like the guns are at everyone's fingertips," Esther Lee said. 

The NAACP was founded in 1909.

Its slogan is "moving forward together" and organizers say that phrase still holds true decades later and will be a theme that weaves throughout this weekend's events.

"People from all different colors, races are coming to encourage us and celebrate with us," said Barbara Redmond, secretary at Allentown NAACP.

Other events this weekend include legal workshops, book discussions and then a gala to close out the conference.

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