The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell M. Nelson has been invited to speak at the NAACP convention in Detroit, marking the latest sign of a burgeoning partnership between the two organizations.
President Nelson will speak Sunday. Last July, Elder Jack N. Gerard of the Seventy spoke at the NAACP’s 109th annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.
The two organizations had their official meeting between national leaders in May 2018, calling afterward for greater racial harmony.
“I’m honored to have The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stand in unity with the NAACP to advance equality and justice for all,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “We must recognize and accept the importance of creating amity with those that are raising the consciousness of this nation — the Church is committed to doing just that.”
In addition to its joint pursuits with the NAACP, the Church seeks to strengthen African American individuals and families through genealogy. The Church helps African Americans trace their roots as far back as possible. The Church donated $2 million in February to the International African American Museum (IAAM), which is set to open in 2021 on the former Gadsden’s Wharf in Charleston, South Carolina. In December 2016, the Church gave an indexed database of the historic Freedmen’s Bureau Records to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The database contains genealogical information of freed African Americans after the Civil War.
Since becoming president of the Church in 2018, the prophet has made clear in word and deed his desire to be a bridge builder with all peoples, faiths, cultures and communities.
“Only the comprehension of the true Fatherhood of God can bring full appreciation of the true brotherhood of men and the true sisterhood of women,” President Nelson said during a major celebration of diversity and oneness in the Church in 2018. “That understanding inspires us with passionate desire to build bridges of cooperation instead of walls of segregation.”