President Nelson to national NAACP convention: We want to be ‘dear friends’

An attendee walks past a sign during the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Tonyia Edmondson poses for a photo while attending the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Art work of boxer Joe Louis is displayed in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
A statue of boxer Joe Louis is displayed at the COBO convention center in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is holding their convention at the center.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Attendees walk through the COBO convention center with a view of Canada across the Detroit River in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is holding their convention at the center.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Art is displayed outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
A river boat is docked on the Detroit River in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP, is interviewed during the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Canada is across the Detroit River in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Jeanetta Williams, president of the Salt Lake branch of the NAACP, laughs while being interviewed during the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Reverend Theresa Deer smiles while being interviewed during the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
A train travels near the COBO convention center in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is holding their convention at the center.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Amos Brown is interviewed during the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People July 21, 2019, in Detroit, Michigan.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
A boater has a view of Canada while on the Detroit River in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
A river boat is docked on the Detroit River in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson meet with Reverend Theresa Deer, right, and others at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces Dr. Amos Brown at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson look over a photo of Detroit with Reverend Theresa Deer while meeting with NAACP leaders at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meets with Dr. Dwayne Proctor at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson share a laugh with Reverend Theresa Deer and Dr. Amos Brown at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is interviewed by media at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson meet with Derrick Johnson and his daughter Safiya at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson meet with Michigan Lt. Gov. Darlin Gilchrist at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is interviewed by media at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife Sister Wendy Nelson with Reverend Theresa Deer while meeting with NAACP leaders at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints tells a story of his flying experience in Alaska with his wife Sister Wendy Nelson and Reverend Theresa Deer at the 110th annual national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Detroit on Sunday, July 21, 2019.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

DETROIT — President Russell M. Nelson cut short his summer vacation to lock arms with a legendary civil rights activist on Sunday night and declare at the NAACP’s 110th national convention that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wants to become dear friends with the African American community.

Standing near the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the banks of the Detroit River, President Nelson stood arm in arm with one of King’s students, the Rev. Amos C. Brown, in the midst of a national conversation about racism and xenophobia.

Rev. Brown introduced President Nelson as “a brother from another mother and a brother from another faith tradition and another race” to 3,000 people at the convention’s public mass meeting in the Cobo Center at the corner of Washington and Jefferson, near the eastern terminus of the Rosa Parks Memorial Highway.

“We are all connected, and we have a God-given responsibility to help make life better for those around us,” President Nelson said. “We don’t have to be alike or look alike to have love for each other. We don’t even have to agree with each other to love each other. If we have any hope of reclaiming the goodwill and sense of humanity for which we yearn, it must begin with each of us, one person at a time.”

The speech was a landmark. A speaking role at the convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in the Motor City, for the president of a church that once banned black members from priesthood ordinances and temple blessings, was unimagined by either the church or the NAACP 18 months ago.

Now the two organizations are partners.

“They’re getting acquainted with us, and they’re finding out we can help them,” President Nelson said in an interview.

For the past four months, NAACP branches in Chicago and San Francisco have used materials from the church, customized for inner city audiences, to teach personal finance principles to at-risk African Americans. The NAACP’s national board of directors decided Saturday to expand the program.

“True community begins with just such relationships; with loving our neighbor; with honoring and serving each other,” President Nelson said at the convention. “This is the spirit behind the cooperation shared by the NAACP and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

On Saturday night, the Detroit News published a joint op-ed written by Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the church’s Relief Society General Presidency, and Karen Boykin-Towns, vice chair of the NAACP board of directors.

“By having the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak in the same city and space where King once marched, the NAACP is demonstrating once again that it stands on the side of collaboration and cooperation,” the two women wrote. “And, at a time when we have too many social divisions and partitions, this emerging partnership between the NAACP and the Church echoes, in some small way, King’s call in Cobo Hall to transform ‘the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.'”

At the podium on Sunday night, President Nelson called Medgar Evers a hero. An assassin shot and killed Evers, a black World War II veteran who fought segregation in Mississippi, after an NAACP meeting in 1963.

“Medgar Evers is a true patriot. He died in the cause of freedom,” President Nelson said.

from deseretnews.com – Top Stories https://ift.tt/2y2Kn2q

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