PADUCAH — The Kentucky State NAACP Convention will be held this weekend in Paducah.
On Saturday, the group will host a political forum to encourage voter registration. It's a right that did not come easy for African-Americans.
The Selma March in 1965 was a pivotal moment for black voting rights. Demonstrators sacrificed their lives as they attempted to march in Alabama from Selma to Montgomery to demand the right to vote for African-Americans.
Benny Heady grew up in that era in West Paducah. He cherishes his right to vote.
"We have to continue to fight just to keep what others have earned for you — your voting rights, your good jobs, your political positions," Heady said.
The mission of the NAACP is to ensure political, educational, social, and economic equality for all people. Heady said that, although we've come a long way from those days, there is still much more to do.
Corbin Snardon is the second vice president for the NAACP. He said younger generations sometimes take voting for granted.
"I think it's very important to honor those people who pave the way for us to have those rights," Snardon said. "We honor soldiers and veterans who fought in our wars, and honestly, for voter rights, that was a war in and of itself."
This weekend, the NAACP convention will give people the chance to register to vote.
"I'm hopeful that the youth of today, those that are coming up that are just now turning 18 (or) in their early 20s will be very actively involved civically. It doesn't just stop at the vote," Snardon said.
He said it's how you hold those in power accountable.
The first session of the convention will begin at 1 p.m. Friday at the Robert Cherry Civic Center. There will also be a soul food dinner at the civic center at 5 p.m. and a gospel concert at 6:30 p.m. at Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church. The political forum will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the civic center.