By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thousands of conventioneers are in Baltimore now through the weekend for the national NAACP convention.

Political reporter Pat Warren looks at the agenda.

The NAACP national headquarters is in Baltimore but this is the first convention here since 2000.

The NAACP will fill the convention center with exhibits and educational competitions, but social justice and civil rights policies remain the organization’s priority.

“And that’s what they’ll look at, that’s what they’ll debate and that’s what we’ll decide,’ says Leon Russell, National Chairman of the NAACP.

It’s a pivotal time for the NAACP: criminal justice and mass incarceration, health care, education, economic development — issues that tie directly to voting rights and voter turnout.

“Citizens engaging in the electoral process. Elections have consequences as we see that across this country we want to make sure that our delegates go back to their homes empowered to engage their members and make sure we participate fully,” says NAACP Convention Chairman Derrick Johnson.

Unlike his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama, President Trump declined the invitation to attend.

“We’d like for him to come and talk to the African American community but if he feels there’s more important things to do, we’ll move on, we’ll devote our selves to being better advocates,” says Russell.

Administration policies will be topics of discussion.

Baltimore’s convention business suffered after the riots in 2015, but last year the urban league and now the NAACP are bringing it back.

Visit Baltimore expects the convention to bring $6 million dollars to the city.

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