Rick Callender is the President of the California Hawaii State Conference NAACP.
He helps oversee 74 branches and youth units of the association which are mobilized across the states to help ensure racial justice and equality.
California Black Media asked Mr. Callender to reflect on the past year and share his plans for 2023.
With the work you do advocating for African Americans in California, what was your biggest accomplishment in 2022?
First was bringing back our State Convention which was completely sold out, second was ensuring that all African American voters and members received a slate mailer on how the CA/HI NAACP suggested they vote on State-wide Propositions.
The slate mailer also identified our lifetime members who were running for office. All but one of the lifetime members were successful in their elections.
What did you find most challenging over the past year?
When fighting for justice, it’s important to remember that it's both a marathon and a sprint at the same time.
In the face of adversity, it can be challenging to continue pushing forward with the same endurance held in the beginning of the marathon, but once you see your efforts start to make even the smallest difference–that has been what’s catapulted my own power forward.
At the same time, we have to often sprint to obtain justice by speaking truth to power.
What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
In 2023 I want to continue fighting for justice and equity, building our membership, and prepare for the 2024 elections.
We cannot allow for the likes of Herschel Walker to gain a foothold in California or Hawaii.
Further, one of our main priorities this past year has been justice on the field for young student athletes experiencing racism.
What’s the biggest challenge Black Californians will face next year?
We will continuously face being able to access equal justice under the law in all respects.
Unfortunately, the fight clearly continues. The CA/HI NAACP will continue to lead the resistance for equity and equality.