McMorris Helps to Usher in a New Era in the Civil Rights Movement

by LP Green, II

Following the resignation of Ben Jealous from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), an Executive Search Committee, tapped to select a new president and CEO, has been announced.

Among those named to the committee is noted philanthropist and civil rights advocate, Lamell McMorris. Recruited as vice-chairman, McMorris will join fellow NAACP National Board Member, Rev. Theresa Dear, to head the search for the organization’s eighteenth president.

As the NAACP moves to progress and renew its century-long mission to eliminate discrimination in the nation and throughout the world, McMorris is instinctively and aptly prepared to aid in identifying a leader best suited to advance the legacy of the organization—one who, as he says, “will propel new and innovative ways to achieving social justice.”

Since his early days as a young man growing up in the Southside of Chicago, McMorris has developed a highly regarded reputation with the nation’s leading civil rights leaders and advocates. For instance, as a sixth-grader, he co-hosted a TV show, “Face to Face with Vernon Jarrett,” with the founder of the NAACP-sponsored Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO).

Accordingly, he has served as a senior advisor to both Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and Martin Luther King, III, he’s a member of the board of the Executive Committee of the National Action Network led by Rev. Al Sharpton, and he’s an avid supporter of National Urban League CEO Marc Morial to name a few.

“Appointing exceptional leadership is key in driving our nation’s most historic civil rights organization forward; and the collective experience, character, and diversity of the team will ensure that the pursuit is balanced and judicious,” stated McMorris.

Moreover, his vast experience in public affairs and consensus building, notably as founder and CEO of Perennial Strategy Group, a Washington, DC based government relations firm, will bring an added layer of efficacy to the vetting process.

A loyal friend of the NAACP, McMorris served on the Executive Search Committee in 2008 when Jealous was elected, is a member of the Crisis Publishing Company Board of Directors, and as a National Board Member, sits on several NAACP committees including the SCF Trustee and Development Committee, the Image Awards Committee, the Economic Development Committee, and the Legal Committee.

McMorris is also a Diamond Life Member of the organization and a proud recipient of the Benjamin L. Hooks Keeper of the Flame Award, which he received in 2010 at the NAACP 101st Annual National Convention in Kansas City, MO.

Additional Executive Search Committee members include: Rev. Theresa Dear (Committee Chair), Founder, HR4 Non-Profits; Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, Pastor, Third Baptist Church, San Francisco, California; Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Derrick Johnson, President, NAACP Mississippi State Conference; Dr. Dwayne Proctor, Senior Program Officer, Robert Wood; Mary Kay Henry, International President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU);Stephen L. Hightower, President & CEO, Hightower Petroleum Co.; Laura Murphy, Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); Elaine R. Jones, Esq., Former President & Director Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Rosemary Harris Lytle, President Colorado, Montana, Wyoming NAACP Area Conference; Michael Coleman, Youth & College Division President,University of Texas, Arlington; Peter Rose, Senior Managing Director, Public Affairs Group, Blackstone.

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