Indiana State's NAACP Chapter brings home three national honors

September 18 2008

Indiana State University's student chapter of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) received high honors at the 99th Annual NAACP National Convention.

The biggest honor of all was the Indiana State chapter being named runner-up for the College Chapter of the Year award. Indiana State came in second to Spelman College, a historically black college located in Atlanta.

One student left the national convention with two national awards.

Ebony Roberts, a sophomore political science major from Fishers, was named the recipient of the Gloster B. Current Award and the Medgar Evers Youth leadership Award.

She knew about her awards prior to the convention in July, but was surprised about the chapter award, especially because of the tough competition Indiana State faced.

"We didn't think we were going to get second place, let alone place, so it was a bit surprising," she said. "I was very proud of all the officers and their efforts."

Chapters are chosen based on work done throughout the year. Last year the chapter sponsored three events -- "Bury the Hate Words," an event organized to burn discriminating words; Black Leadership Conference, a conference engaging students from throughout the Midwest in leadership development through academic and professional success; and "Tunnel of Oppression," an artistic exhibit that demonstrated various issues people deal with involving violence, racism, homophobia, health issues and body image -- in addition to increasing voter registration and hate crimes awareness following a noose being discovered on the Indiana State campus.

Members also participate in weekly community service such as tutoring at the Booker T. Washington Community Center.

"We do civil rights as well as community work to create that bond between Indiana State and the community at large," said Valerie Hart-Craig, chapter advisor.

Roberts hopes the awards will get students excited about joining them to follow a national initiative - "100 by 100" - to increase chapter memberships 100 percent by the time of the next national convention in July 2009 in New York City, where they will celebrate the organization's centennial year.

There are currently 72 members of the Indiana State chapter, she added. Roberts also serves as the state president of the youth and college chapters.

Roberts and the chapter officers began the school year by celebrating with President Daniel Bradley.

"I think it's just great," Bradley said. "The issues that they worked on last year are exactly the kind of issues we need to be working on, and their outreach to the community really exemplifies the community engagement spirit that we have here at ISU. They're very focused on what ISU is all about, so I can't be prouder of them."

The Gloster B. Current Award is designed to recognize outstanding NAACP youth members that emulate the dedication, commitment and leadership of Gloster B. Current, former NAACP Director of Branch & Field Services.

Roberts was one of three students nationally to win the Medgar Wiley Evers Youth Leadership Award. Evers, the first NAACP Field Director for the State of Mississippi, was dedicated to the fight for freedom and equality in his native state. On June 12, 1963, Evers was killed by an assassin's bullet in the driveway of his home.

The NAACP is the nation's oldest pre-eminent civil rights organization. In existence for nearly a century the NAACP is responsible for a number of victories in the struggle for justice and equality in America.

Contact: Valerie Craig, Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action, (812) 237-8484 or vcraig@indstate.edu

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or pmeyer4@isugw.indstate.edu

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Indiana State University's student chapter of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) received high honors at the 99th Annual NAACP National Convention.

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