The NAACP National Convention, originally planned to be held in Boston, will instead be held online next week with some in-person events to celebrate the city’s Black community.
“Freedom Weekend” will feature cultural offerings and community service projects in neighborhoods ahead of Monday’s virtual gatherings.
Events were scheduled to begin Friday with a free drive-in soul music concert at the Bayside Expo Plaza from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Scheduled to perform live onstage were The Roots, Athene Wilson, The Creatives, Danny Rivera, Ally Collective, and The Woo Factor Band, according to organizers.
Tanisha M. Sullivan, president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, said the concert, which will have limited space but will also be livestreamed online, will “celebrate the legacy of music, celebrate our culture, and how it has contributed to the racial justice movement here in the city of Boston.”
On Saturday, organizers plan a NAACP Boston Branch Day of Action & Service, with opportunities for volunteers to participate online or to take part in service projects in Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, Jamaica Plain, and Hyde Park.
The in-person options will include neighborhood beautification projects, improvements to public school facilities, and distribution of voter education information, according to organizers.
“Service has always been an instrumental part of Black culture,” Sullivan said. “We believe, as a people, that no matter what you have, or what you don’t have, everybody has something they can give.”
And because the convention has moved online this year, it has also expanded to include events that will continue through September, Sullivan said, including roundtable discussions in Boston to address racial inequities here and how to address them.
Amid an international outcry over the deaths of Black people in cities like Minneapolis and Louisville, she said, Boston-area residents shouldn’t close their eyes to racism close to home.
“It’s important during this time that we are mindful of the systemic racism that exists, even in our own communities here in Boston,” Sullivan said. “We all have responsibility to speak up against systemic racism … and to do our part to dismantle it.”