“We as a branch have grown, not only in participation, it is certainly a lot more diverse,” Bonner said.
Although the Cobb NAACP doesn’t reveal membership numbers, Bonner estimated the chapter is about 40 percent larger than it was in 1995. She said it’s also more diverse, with 10 percent to 15 percent more non-black members.
“In ’95, we would not have had more than 10 people who were not African American,” she said.
The 70th state convention will run from Oct. 11 to 14 at the Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria Hotel, 200 Interstate North Parkway.
The event is being called “Your Power, Your Decision — VOTE.” It will include a luncheon and leadership council meeting with Edward O. DuBose, a national NAACP board member, along with meetings for the NAACP’s state youth and college divisions. The conference will also feature workshops on topics such as political action, education, health, housing, veterans’ affairs and legal redress.
While the events at the Marriott require registration, Bonner said anyone in the community can attend a free Oct. 11 kickoff event at Turner Chapel AME Church, 492 North Marietta Parkway, which will include remarks from Dr. Nelson Rivers, pastor of Clarity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, S.C., a longtime NAACP leader. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.
Bonner said organizers are expecting between 500 and 700 people from the state’s 102 NAACP branches to attend the conference.
“We’re hoping for more,” she said. “We want to break the record.”
Bonner said Cobb beat out Athens and Macon for the right to host the conference. It is expected to draw political, business and religious leaders from across the state.
“It was a thrill that we won, and we’re happy to have it,” she said.