Sacramento: Young NAACP Delegates Hand Out “Blessing Bags” to Unhoused People

Sacramento: Young NAACP Delegates Hand Out “Blessing Bags” to Unhoused People

PHOTO Teneicia Herring, Cal-Hi State Conference’s Government Relations Specialist, far left, and the State Conference Communication Director, Kristine Yabumoto, far right, take a photo with the young delegates before they distributed “blessing bags” to unhoused people on their way to the State Capitol. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
WRITTEN BY
ANTONIO RAY HARVEY | CALIFORNIA BLACK MEDIA

A delegation of youth and college students added a charitable touch when they participated in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) California-Hawaii State Conference (Cal-Hi State Conference) annual “Legislative Day” in Sacramento on May 20.

The young members of NAACP branches from all over the state attended the daylong event to learn about public policy and participate in the legislative process. They also discussed legislation focused on reparations and environmental justice.

The group’s benevolent gesture involved distributing packages of personal care and hygiene items to the less fortunate and unhoused population in the state capital.

The initiative was the brainchild of Zowee Williamson, the Housing Committee Chairperson for NAACP Cal-Hi State Conference’s Youth and College division.

“These are ‘blessing bags,’” said Williamson, a 15-year-old resident of Stockton. “They are about blessings for people who may need blessings. We wanted to provide resources that people could use to get off the streets. I just see a lot of people – old and young — on the streets who are in need. We look at our community and say, ‘What can we do?’”

The NAACP Stockton Branch’s Youth Council prepared the rose and blue-colored blessing packages in advance and stored them in boxes while participating in the event’s orientation held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in downtown Sacramento.

All of the members spent the morning going through orientation before visiting lawmakers at the State Capitol and the nearby Capitol Annex Swing Space where temporary offices are set up for legislators while the 73-year-old State Capitol is undergoing a facelift.

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“This (is) a great day for all friends and members of the NAACP to gather together,” said Venus Butler, a member of the NAACP Branch of Los Angeles. “This also a day we could recognize the 70th-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Brown v. the Board of Education.

The young members dropped off some of the blessing packages to individuals they met as they walked to the facilities three blocks away and handed out a few more on their way back to the hotel.

“It was only about 100 bags but hopefully at future events like this we can give out more,” Williamson said.

According to the National Chapter of the NAACP, the Youth Council and Junior Youth Council are part of the oldest civil rights organization’s local units that provide training and leadership development for young adults under the age of 25.

The Youth and College Division of the NAACP Cal-Hi State Conference is known to perform community work across the state by organizing a variety of workshops, including the thought-provoking “Stop the Hate Mock Trial,” a Youth Focused Dinner, an informational Juvenile Justice Workshop, and a comprehensive Health Forum.

At the NAACP Cal-Hi State Conference’s 36th Annual State Convention in San Francisco last October, Williamson said youth delegates also gave out blessing packages of personal items to the homeless – a popular program at her local branch in Stockton. 

Williamsons’ hope is to get all 57 branches in the state involved and potentially expand the program nationwide among other NAACP Youth Councils.

“It’s just a start,” she said. “Once we have more resources to build it up, we can help get people off the streets, out of the cold, away from pollution. The world will be a better place.”

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