DETROIT (FOX 2) - Thousands of people are here in Detroit for the 100th NAACP national conference this week. The sounds of gospel music opened the session of this year's conference, for which the theme is "When we fight, we win."
Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer was one of the first to speak Monday morning.
"Many years before I ever even thought about running for governor, I joined this organization as a lifetime member. ... I appreciate the work of the NAACP to help level the playing field for African Americans across the United States. If we are to remedy this, we must continue the work together," she said.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow says part of that fight is eliminating forces that work against justice.
"The leadership of the NAACP is needed as we see the poison of racism coming directly from the Oval Office. Donald Trump has given permission to people who used to hide under sheets in the dead of night to now stand in the light in front of a microphone," she said, meeting a round of applause.
"Right now we're in a fight for the heart and soul this country. There are forces out there that want to divide this country, and they think they can become powerful by dividing us, and in reality, this country is always stronger when we are united as one," Sen. Gary Peters also told us.
"In Michigan, we know when we fight, we win," Stabenow said on stage.
President Trump was invited to address the convention, but he said he could not make it because there was a change in date, but also because the convention wanted to do a Q&A session. He says he was only prepared to give a speech.
"I very much wanted to go, but we had a date. The date got changed and unfortunately they wanted to do it in the form of a question and answer," Trump said.
Also on the list to speak at the convention this week is Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.