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Dear Members and Friends:

The mission of the MV/NAACP is to promote an inclusive environment that embraces, respects, and values the diversity in the island community.

We are a non-profit advocacy organization that ensures the political, educational, social and economic equality of all persons. We educate persons as to their constitutional rights and take all lawful action to secure the exercise thereof. We seek to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.

The work of the MV/Branch in our schools, places of employment, race relations, housing and community organizations depends on the support and participation of caring and progressive individuals like you. Your membership is an opportunity to give back to the organization that has done more to change this country for the betterment of people of color, women and the disenfranchised than any other in the nation’s history. To all of our members and supporters I say THANK YOU! You are the lifeblood of this Great Association. You are the frontline in the fight for justice and equality in this country.

We have survived the greatest prolonged unemployment since the Great Depression, the greatest attacks on voting rights since segregation, attacks on immigration, and attacks on education so great that they should make every parent cry. When so many of our rights are under attack in so many places all at once, anti-civil rights and anti-human rights extremists are seeking to suppress our vote. Our right to vote is under attack more than at any time since we passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We overcame then and we shall overcome now—but only if we are willing to dedicate ourselves to fighting a battle that many of us thought we had won.

The mission of the NAACP is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. This is the standard and these are the values that guide every challenge we take on.

That’s why in May of this year the NAACP made a stand for marriage equality. We believe that marriage is a civil right and a marriage of civil law under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Right now is the right time to do the right thing”. To those who have questions about the NAACP's resolution to support marriage equality, the NAACP has never wavered against attempts to codify discrimination or hatred into the law.

One of the most significant health care game changers in American history came In June when the Supreme Court of the United States upheld—by a 5-4 margin—the constitutionality of most of the Affordable Health Care Act. The NAACP believes that access to affordable high quality health care is a civil and human right that should not be reserved for the wealthy or the few.

Today, the enemies of justice are not lynching African-Americans and practicing Jim Crow laws of segregation. They are more sophisticated. But they are equally sinister. They are erecting barriers to economic viability, educational quality, health care accessibility, judicial equity, and political opportunity. The opponents of justice are more refined, but they are equally threatening. These are powerful reminders that even our nation’s most noble victories can disappear when we are silent and not vigilant. Overcoming the challenges we face today requires a new vision for tomorrow. We will move forward together, or not at all, even in times of uncertainty.

Our only chance to hold on to the gains we have made and hold our leaders accountable to a vision of America long promised, but not yet realized, is to organize in our communities, VOTE in all local, state and national elections, and raise our voices in the name of fairness, justice and opportunity.

I encourage you to accept personal accountability this year to create change that starts with YOU and expands into our community.

In the struggle,

Laurie Perry-Henry
MV/NAACP President

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©2012 NAACP of Martha’s Vineyard