Pensacola NAACP Youth Council Wins 8 National Awards!
By Grace Stanley
Last week, I was blessed to travel to Philadelphia with several other members of the Pensacola NAACP Youth Council #5750 for the 2015 NAACP National Convention. We went to nationals because I won the Gloster B. Current Leadership Award for Region V as former President of the Youth Council, and both Christian Stanley (my little brother) and Quincy Harrison won national Medgar Evers Awards! Malik Blankenship, the current President, attended the convention as well to sit in on all of the fantastic leadership training that was provided.
I couldn’t believe all of the amazing people that we met or heard speak, like President Obama! For almost a week, we stood next to Civil Rights Icons and celebrities alike. Everyone was very friendly and nice, not at all what I would have expected. But honestly, we ALL felt like celebrities when our unit was awarded five NAACP “Gamechanger Awards” to include Health, Juvenile Justice, Economic Empowerment and Voter Empowerment, as well as Unit of the Year!
Touring Philadelphia during and after the conference was a great experience, because it was full of history. We saw one of the original copies of the Bill of Rights and participated in fun exhibits such as signing the Declaration of Independence and seeing how money is made at the Mint. I was very surprised to learn how the Liberty Bell was so intricately tied to the abolition of slavery. History comes to life when you can see it for yourself.
I learned that it is the important to submit applications for awards whenever possible. My Mom, Dr. Eurydice Stanley, and Mrs. Twana McDaniels are our advisors, and they encourage us to stay active in our community and do our best. We did as we were asked, but there is no way that we could have ever expected to come home with 8 awards! However, when I thought about all that we did this year, to include taking 150 people from Pensacola to the 50th Anniversary of the historic Selma bridge crossing and recognizing the NAACP Youth Council from the 1960’s who were finally recognized with a historic marker for their efforts to desegregate Pensacola.
We would not have been able to attend without the sponsorship of Gulf Power and the support of many adults. I am just so grateful to have attended, because I had experiences and made friends that I will remember for the rest of my life. I really enjoyed the convention and I look forward to attending again next year!