Governor Crist Names Adora Obi Nweze Special Advisor on Minority Affairs

Governor's Press Office News Release:

TALLAHASSEE – On the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Governor Charlie Crist today called on Adora Obi Nweze of Miami to serve as Special Advisor to the Governor on Minority Affairs. Nweze will serve as a representative for the state’s minorities by advising Governor Crist on strategies that will ensure Florida’s government is accessible to these populations. She will continue as president of the Florida State Conference of the NAACP. The Governor's appointment of Nweze is believed to be the first state partnership with the NAACP through an official appointment in the administration.

“The Sunshine State benefits from its diverse population in many ways, and a wide variety of cultural perspectives gives our state a unique advantage when pursuing economic opportunities in many different markets,” Governor Crist said. “Adora will help ensure that my administration is reaching as many of Florida’s diverse populations as possible.”

Governor Crist announced Nweze’s appointment during a civil rights roundtable discussion with leaders of Florida’s African-American community. Joining Governor Crist and Nweze were representatives of the Urban League of Florida, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Florida A&M University and leaders of the Florida Conference of Black Legislators. Governor Crist invited leaders to provide suggestions for increasing minority access to state government. Later today, Governor Crist will meet with the full membership of the Florida Conference of Black Legislators to hear their priorities for the state.

In 2000 Nweze was elected president of the Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches, which pursues civil rights interests of Floridians of color throughout the state. She also serves on the NAACP National Board of Directors, the NAACP Special Contribution Fund/Board of Trustees and is the National Chair for the NAACP Afro Cultural Technological Scientific Olympics committee that provides an opportunity for students to compete nationally in science, visual and performing arts, business, and humanities for scholarships, computers and other awards. She is former vice-chair of the NAACP Education Committee and former chair of the National 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. In September 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, she was appointed by the NAACP as National Disaster Relief Coordinator. She has also served as president for the Miami-Dade NAACP branch for 11 years and the Opa-Locka branch for two years. Nweze is a retired educator with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools and has been an adjunct professor at several universities. She received a bachelor’s degree from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina and a master’s degree in education from the University of Miami.

“I applaud Governor Crist’s efforts to reach out to all Floridians and work to ensure that every Floridian – regardless of race, color or national origin – has access to quality education and economic opportunity,” Nweze said. “I look forward to serving the people of Florida in this unique role.”

Nweze’s appointment as special advisor expands the existing partnerships between state agencies and the Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches developed to reach minority populations. Under Governor Crist’s leadership, the following partnerships have been established:

· In November 2008, the NAACP and the Office of Supplier Diversity within the Department of Management Services partnered to increase the number of black-owned businesses certified as minority business enterprises from 574 to 700 by November 2009. As of February 1, 2009, more than 950 black-owned businesses have been enrolled.

· In September 2007, the Florida State Conference officially joined the State Emergency Response Team to enhance the state’s resources in the areas of preparedness, response, recovery, and pre-disaster hazard mitigation activities. The Florida NAACP members assist with multiple emergency support operations, including human services, volunteers and donations, business, industry and economic stabilization, and temporary disaster housing.

· The Florida Department of Health has partnered with the Florida NAACP to address challenges contributing to health disparities that impact racial and ethnic populations. The goal of the collaboration is to develop innovative strategies and recommendations to close health gaps.

· Nweze is also a long-time advocate for at-risk youth, working to reduce disproportionate minority contact within the juvenile justice system. She served as a panelist on the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice’s Examining Zero Tolerance: A Summit on Florida’s Students – Creative Strategies for Lasting Solutions held in August 2008 to address ways to keep Florida schools safe while reducing referrals to the juvenile justice system.

As Special Advisor to the Governor on Minority Affairs, Nweze will make recommendations to the Governor and state agencies on ways to advance minority-population participation in and access to state government. She will also advise on matters related to the development of minority businesses and equal access to education, health care, housing, government services and criminal justice.

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