News Release

Church and NAACP Leaders Meet in
Salt Lake City

Joint education and employment efforts continue

Senior leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) met with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6, 2018 — another indication of the growing friendship between the two groups.


President M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles with Leon W. Russell, chairman of the board of directors of the NAACP, on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Saturday, October 6, 2018.

At a series of meetings and presentations held with members of the NAACP board of directors and senior staff along with general authorities of the Church and various Church department representatives, the two groups advanced conversations and efforts on their education and employment initiative that the Church and the NAACP have undertaken as a joint venture. The two groups worked on ways to customize the Church’s self-reliance services materials and programs to be most effective for the initiative.


Church leaders gather for a breakfast meeting with leaders of the NAACP on Temple Square prior to the first session of general conference, Saturday, October 6, 2018.

Participating was NAACP chairman Leon W. Russell; NAACP vice chair Karen Boykin-Towns; Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, interreligious affairs chairman; and Rev. Theresa A. Dear, interreligious affairs vice chair.

The group also attended the Saturday morning session of the Church’s semiannual general conference, where Dr. Brown particularly enjoyed one of his favorite renditions by The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, “Come, Come, Ye Saints.” Prior to the session, Church leaders, including President M. Russell Ballard, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, Bishop Gérald Caussé, Elder Jack N. Gerard and others, hosted the NAACP leaders at a breakfast. Church leaders and NAACP chairman Russell spoke warmly about the new relationship and the groups’ eagerness to work together.


Leon W. Russell, chairman of the NAACP board of directors (right), with Karen Boykin-Towns, vice chairman of the NAACP board of directors (left), in the Conference Center on Temple Square, Saturday, October 6, 2018.

The visit to Salt Lake City by leaders of the NAACP follows an invitation for Elder Jack N. Gerard to offer remarks at the NAACP 109th annual national meetings held in San Antonio, Texas, on July 15 of this year and a press conference held in Salt Lake City in May with the Church’s First Presidency and NAACP leadership. At the latter event, both groups called for greater civility and racial harmony and announced efforts for expanded collaboration between the members of the two organizations.

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