The Missouri NAACP’s president began his address at the state conference in Springfield by remembering playground fights and how telling the teacher only went so far. At some point, he said, you have to “put your dukes up.” He compared that scenario to the travel advisory the chapter issued this summer.
"We as an organization have not resorted to that extreme," he said, "but we did decide that we were going to tell everybody. We had to find a different teacher."
Chapel listened to participants’ ideas for where to go next. Moving forward, he said, the NAACP and its members need to address local, regional and statewide officials to see where they stand on certain issues such as criminal justice reform. They need to be sure people are held accountable when civil rights are violated and they need to “open their mouths” and get the message out about racial inequality. And he suggested putting together a "guide to Jim Crow."
"We've got to throw Missouri in there because that's where it's alive right now. This will further amplify the travel advisory and allow people to identify tangible things that they can do in their lives to protect themselves or to fight back without putting their dukes up, he said. "They can go tell somebody and who to effectively tell."
The conference, at the Ramada Oasis in Springfield, goes through Saturday (9/23).