On Sunday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' president, Russell M. Nelson, will speak at the national convention for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, in Detroit, the church announced Wednesday.
According to the church, the NAACP and church leaders have met "several times to pursue a joint education and employment initiative that has been deployed in Chicago, San Francisco, Houston and Charlotte." The initiative was announced in July 2018 and slated to begin in Baltimore, Atlanta and Camden, New Jersey.
Nelson is not the first church leader to speak at the NAACP's national convention; in 2018, Elder Jack N. Gerard spoke in San Antonio, Texas.
Prior to the July 2018 meeting, the church's leaders met with the NAACP for the first time in May 2018 in Salt Lake City.
“Today, in unity with such capable and impressive leaders as the national officials of the NAACP, we are impressed to call on people of this nation, and indeed, the entire world, to demonstrate greater civility, racial and ethnic harmony and mutual respect,” Nelson said at that first meeting.
The church has exercised greater focus in reaching out to African Americans in the last year between the historic May meeting, June 2018 "Be One" 40th anniversary of allowing blacks to hold the priesthood, and large donations like $2 million to the International African American Museum. This follows what some describe as a past marked by discrimination against people of color.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, based in Baltimore, is the nation's oldest civil rights organization.