Young people and the movement for civil rights have always been closely connected. While we often think of the titans of the Civil Rights movement as wise elders, during the peak of their work they were often teenagers and college students, finding their voices as they diligently worked to shape their own future.
That legacy continues today. During the 2020 uprisings and protests against police violence, we witnessed young, Black NAACP members nationwide step up to represent their communities.
We are passionate about not only including youth at all levels of our work, but ensuring that they have supportive spaces, mentors, and guidance to speak out, learn, and develop into the civil rights and social justice leaders of tomorrow. Listening to and embracing the thought leadership of our young people is crucial to our commitment to lasting social and political change.
Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among Black high school students.
NAACP has one of the largest organized groups of young people of any secular organization in the country. We have more than 25,000 young people under the age of 25 representing 550 junior youth councils, youth councils, high school chapters, and college chapters actively involved in the fight for civil rights.
NAACP Next Generation Program (NextGen) is a leadership development training program for young adults between the ages of 21 and 40 who receive comprehensive leadership and advocacy training to become effective civil rights leaders.
I'm so grateful for the space the NAACP has created for young activists and young organizers just to feel comfortable in being themselves and knowing that their voices matter."- Madison Potts, 2021 Youth Activist of the Year
Youth activists joined nationwide demonstrations against police brutality and organized their own marches and protests that drew thousands of people to the streets. The Mississippi Youth State Conference President Taylor Turnage was one of four lead organizers of a rally against police injustice. Organizers hoped for 500 participants but drew more than 5,000, making it the state's largest protest gathering since 1964. The demonstration was featured on Good Morning America.