Mormons and NAACP seek to advance work with new initiatives

Jun 14, 2021, 12:20 PM | Updated: Jun 15, 2021, 4:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Top leaders from the NAACP and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced $9.25 million in new educational and humanitarian projects Monday as they seek to build on an alliance formed in 2018.

The Utah-based church will donate $3 million to fund scholarships for three years for Black students through the United Negro College Fund, and will give $250,000 to create a fellowship for students from the United States to travel to Ghana to learn about slavery, Russell M. Nelson, president of the faith, said at a news conference in Salt Lake City.

The faith known widely as the Mormon church will also give $6 million to fund three years of humanitarian aid aimed at helping underprivileged people in six metro areas of the United States.

Its partnership with the civil rights organization is part of the religion’s efforts to improve race relations. Until 1978, the church had a ban on Black men in its lay priesthood that was rooted in the belief that black skin was a curse. The issue lingers as one of the most sensitive topics in the religion’s history.

The leaders announced the initiatives ahead of Juneteenth, which celebrates the June 19, 1865, date of the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States.

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Mormons and NAACP seek to advance work with new initiatives