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Dear Rachel Dolezar:

Here’s why I’m not going to let you and the media distract me from all the important issues Black America is facing right now. Because the story of you “passing” for black, no matter how twisted it is, has turned the national discussion away from matters of education, police brutality, health concerns, unemployment and the list goes on and on.

Here are 3 more important things that the NAACP is currently dealing with:

  1. The HIV epidemic: The NACCP and more than 21,000 black churches in the U.S. are coming together in July to inspire people to put an end to this epidemic at the 4th Annual Day of Unity. 
  2. Economic Opportunities:  This spring, the NAACP released its economic report cards on corporate diversity and inclusion. By focusing on the healthcare industry, it is urging healthcare companies to come up with strategies for strengthening diversity and better ways to include minorities.
  3. Racial Profiling: Earlier this month the NAACP launched teach-in workshops based on their “Born Suspect: Racial Profiling” report. The goal is to have NAACP branch leaders and other representatives from the criminal justice arena, including local law enforcement, participate in these nationwide discussions. Upcoming workshops will be held in New Brunswick, NJ on June 19th and June 26-27 in Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, PA.

The NAACP is not perfect and like any large organization, its emphasis on fundraising and building its membership sometimes gets in the way of its mission to “ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race,”—a very tall and ambitious order.

As far as “Rachel” is concerned, she may have brought more attention to the nation’s oldest civil rights organization than it’s gotten in decades, certainly among people 40 and under.

I know you think I’m about to put the onus on the NAACP to use this opportunity to re-introduce itself to “millennials” Black and white. I am. But my biggest charge is for every African-American who Tweeted or Retweeted a #RachelDolezal, #DearRachel, #AskRachel joke, to either join your local NAACP chapter or to send a donation.

Discover what it’s done, what it’s trying to do and what role you can play in becoming an advocate for justice. If you don’t like what they’re doing, join another organization, or start your own.

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