January 14, 2013

How the NAACP Activates Young People for Advocacy

Benjamin Jealous, chief executive of the NAACP, says advocacy organizations too often ignore young people—missing an opportunity to inspire the very supporters who might become most active in promoting a cause.

But Mr. Jealous says his organization has decided to make young people a priority, in part by asking them what they are most passionate about changing in the world and showing them how they can channel frustration about what's wrong into positive action.

"Listen to them first, find out what they are really angry about, and then say, 'This is how we turn it outward, and we actually overcome that issue,'" Mr. Jealous says.

In this video, Mr. Jealous talks about how his organization has mobilized young people to protest criminal-justice policies that focus on putting people in prison and explains how other groups can borrow techniques that have helped the NAACP increase its number of young members.