York college to host former NAACP president

Jessica Schladebeck

Benjamin Todd Jealous started his journey with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund opening mail when he was 18 years old and he worked his way up the ranks to be elected the organizations youngest-ever president at 35.

Benjamin Todd Jealous

The former NAACP president on Feb. 16 will share his story in a presentation titled "The Secret to Unleashing Inner Greatness" at York College's Waldner Performing Arts Center. The event, which is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. with doors opening an hour prior, is free and open to the public. Seating is first come, first serve.

The event, organized by York College's Center for Professional Excellence, is intended to illustrate a successful career path for students as well as inspire those in the community to make a difference in their own back yards.

Jealous' presentation will cover his leadership roles in movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality, and end mass incarceration. Under his leadership, the NAACP's online and mobile presence blossomed into the largest of any civil rights group and now boasts the biggest community-based nonpartisan voter registration operation in the country.

Jealous in 2012 resigned as the organization's president and has since moved on to the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kapor Capital, where he continues to focus on his mission of growing opportunities for minorities in the tech economy.

Before taking the helm at NAACP, Jealous spent 15 years as both a community organizer and journalist. In his time with the Jackson Advocate in Mississippi, he worked on investigative pieces credited with exposing corruption at a state penitentiary and proving the innocence of a black farmer framed for arson. He also spent some time at Amnesty International where he led efforts to outlaw prison rape, expose the increasing trend of children being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, and draw attention to expanded racial profiling in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

For more information on the event visit York College's website.

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at