A contingent of black leaders from political, civil and human rights organizations met on Monday, Dec. 3 in the District to formulate a plan for economic and educational parity among African Americans.
The 40 front-runners, who were convened by NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, the Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network and Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, were led by National Urban League President Marc Morial. They met for four hours at the Capitol Hilton in Northwest, where Morial, 54, read a statement on the gathering's purpose.
"The plight of the African-American community underscores the urgency of our demand," the statement said. "The African-American community was disproportionately battered by the Great Recession and benefitted the least from the fragile economic recovery. Unemployment remains unacceptably high; income inequality and the ever-widening wealth threaten to relegate the black community to underclass status."
Five urgent priorities for the nation were derived from the meeting, Morial said. Listed among them were: achieving economic parity for blacks, promoting equity in educational opportunity; protecting and defending voting rights; promoting a healthier nation; and comprehensive reform within the criminal justice system.
Sharpton, 58, said the group's agenda will have real action.
"We will take this rhetoric to produce results," he said. "It is time to stop complaining and start convening."
Black Agenda Photos (please click here to see additional photos)