JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — Mississippi’s NAACP president is now leading the national organization in their fight for democracy and equality.
Derrick Johnson sat down with WJTV’s Margaret-Ann Carter to talk about his new position and how he plans to put Mississippi at the forefront.
It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for Derrick Johnson as he takes on his new role as the interim-president for the NAACP.
The Mississippi native attended Tougaloo college and has spent decades defending the rights of Mississippians.
“It’s a big opportunity not only for me but for Mississippi the NAACP is something that is near and dear to the state of Mississippi,” Derrick Johnson said.
While the state’s chapter has accomplished a lot, Johnson says Mississippi still has a long way to go, and he plans to use his new title to help progress further.
“In order to move this state forward we should start looking at our future and stop looking at our dark negative past,” he said.
Johnson says he’s embarrassed that his home state still has the Confederate emblem on the state flag flying high.
Something he believes contributes to the racial discrimination and the divide in parts of Mississippi.
“I think the current political climate tends to be more tolerant of racial hatred act and we need to do more as citizens back or white to say this is not acceptable,” the new President said.
In the end, he says the NAACP faces the same challenges at the state and national level.
“I think the biggest challenge for the NAACP both in state and nationally is making sure we control our narrative both in what we do and what we stand for and our successes over the last several months and years,” he explained.
Johnson also spoke about the several members of the Black Caucus who are boycotting the Southern Legislative Conference.
We’re told that 1,300 lawmakers are meeting in Biloxi to talk about issues facing the South, but some refused to go because of the refusal to remove the state flag.
Johnson says he commends those who stood by their principals and didn’t attend.
“Why should they stand and make this state look good at a conference when the very people that represent that conference have refused, and they have the authority to remove a racial hatred symbol from the state’s flag,” Johnson said.
Thirteen members of the Black Caucus decided to attend the conference, to which Johnson says is unfortunate that they didn’t stand with the other members.