Sunday, August 10, 2008

Group plans Black Agenda for new administration

Group plans Black agenda for new administration

By IBW Updated Aug 5, 2008, 01:19 pm

Major conference in New Orleans to celebrate historic election

Special to The Final Call

Anticipating the election of Democratic Senator Barack Obama as the first person of African descent to become president of the United States, the Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW), under the leadership of veteran social and political activist Dr. Ron Daniels, will convene the Second State of the Black World Conference (SOBWC) in New Orleans, November 19-23, 2008. Centered on the theme, “Return to the Source, Restoring Family, Rebuilding Community, Renewing the Struggles,” a major goal of the conference is to focus national and international attention on New Orleans and the Gulf in support of the right to return of evacuees/displaced persons and their heroic struggle to reclaim and rebuild their homes and neighborhoods.

Strategically positioned after an historic presidential election, SOBWC will be the first major opportunity for Black America and the Pan African world to celebrate a monumental victory. As such organizers view the conference as a veritable post-election political convention where an agenda of priority public policy proposals will be developed to present to the new administration with the objective of revitalizing Black communities in the U.S., the Caribbean and Africa.

“We’re excited about the prospect of Obama winning the White House,” Dr. Daniels commented, “but we must work to create and advance a progressive Black agenda no matter who wins the White House. The crisis afflicting New Orleans, before and after Katrina, is a metaphor for the conditions facing Black people across America,” he continued. “We must not make the mistake of believing that the new president will be able to resolve all our problems without a powerful grassroots movement to promote our agenda. This is very much in keeping with Barack Obama’s position that change comes from the bottom up.”

With enthusiasm about the presidential election at a fever pitch, SOBWC is expected to attract the Who’s Who of Black America as speakers, workshop presenters and resource people as well as hundreds of grassroots/community based activists and leaders.

Bev Smith, syndicated Talk Show Host on the American Urban Radio Networks; Rev. Al Sharpton, President, National Action Network; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College; Marc Morial, president/CEO, National Urban League; Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, president, National Rainbow/Push Coalition; Dr. Elsie Scott, president/CEO, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Atty. Faya Rose Sanders, founder of the Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Ala.; Susan Taylor, former editorial director, Essence magazine; Dr. Iva Carruthers, general secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; Makani Themba-Nixon, executive director, Praxis Project; Dr. Maulana Karenga, creator of Kwanzaa and professor of Africana Studies and chairman of Black Studies at California State University at Long Beach; Haki Madhubuti, author, poet and distinguished professor, Chicago State University; Sonia Sanchez, internationally acclaimed author and poet; Charles Ogletree, Harvard law professor, and Danny Glover, actor and humanitarian, are among the luminaries who have already confirmed their participation in the conference.

In addition, SOBWC recently received the endorsement of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan who has pledged the support of the Nation of Islam and the Millions More Movement. Though Min. Farrakhan has cut back on his rigorous schedule of engagements, the organizers have invited him to join other notable civil rights/human rights, religious and political leaders as a presenter at the National/International Town Hall Meeting, which will be the first public session of the conference. Invitations have also been extended to a number of heads of state and ministers of government in Africa and the Caribbean as well as to community-based leaders, organizations and agencies from every region of the Pan African World.

The full schedule for SOBWC will include the National/International Town Hall Meeting; Damu Smith Leadership Development and Organizer Training Institute; Katrina Policy Roundtables; a Special Session on Haiti; Pan African Policy Forum; Black Family Summit; and 16 topical Working Sessions addressing crucial issues affecting the Black community such as crime and gun violence; poverty and economic underdevelopment; public school drop-out rates and poor performing schools, health disparities; the crisis of the Black male and the prison-jail industrial complex.

It is in the Working Sessions that participants will discuss public policy proposals, private self-help projects, programs and initiatives to revitalize and strengthen Black communities. SOBWC will also feature a series of Intergenerational Dialogues with emerging leaders in the global Black freedom struggle.

Assessing the significance of the conference at such a historic moment, Dr. Daniels concluded, “SOBWC is designed to have a major impact on the socio-economic and political future of Black America and the Pan African World. As such it has the potential to be one of the great gatherings of people of African descent in the 21st Century.”

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