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NAACP convention in Detroit to explore voting rights, police brutality

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
Derrick Johnson.

The NAACP's 110th annual convention coming to Detroit this summer will include sessions addressing hot-button topics such as police brutality, voter suppression and mental health in the black community, the civil rights group said Friday.

“In a country shaped by race relations, pollution and polarizing political struggles, Detroit stands out as the epitome of the urgent need and struggle for change,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO. “Coming to this city represents a moment where we begin to actualize these necessary changes, and to ensure the NAACP’s position as the key protector of the black vote and protector of the black community.”

The July 20-24 convention is expected to draw elected officials, entertainers, authors, athletes and others for workshops and events such as a Freedom Fund Banquet, a health pavilion, retail expo, diversity career fair and the 41st NAACP Academic, Cultural, Technical and Scientific Olympics competition.

The convention is expected to bring in at least $11 million to southeast Michigan, organizers estimate.

The event also is expected to highlight the 400th year since African slaves were brought to Virginia in 1619, the group said Friday.

"It’s a seminal moment for the 110-year-old organization that seeks to honor the gains won in the past four centuries by the ancestors of enslaved Africans, while determining a powerful 2020 agenda where those gains will be threatened like never before," group officials said in a statement.

In December, officials said General Motors Co., Quicken Loans, Ford Motor Co. and DTE Energy Co. were among the corporate sponsors to serve on a blue-ribbon committee for the convention.

This marks the fourth time the organization the convention has been held in the Motor City. The most recent was in 2007.

Next year's convention will be in Boston.