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After Right-Wing Civil Rights Attacks, Black Southern Leaders Join Forces Leave a comment


President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Melanie Campbell (center) | Photo by Brian Stukes/Getty Images)

An onslaught of laws have swept the country to weaken racial justice– from educational bans to voting rights restrictions, with much of it taking place in southern states like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee. In response, a group of southern Black leaders is taking a stand.

Organized by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), a two-day launch event that began Wednesday in Atlanta is bringing together esteemed civil rights, social justice, education, economic and labor, youth, and environmental leaders to Clark Atlanta University (CAU) to convene, while NCBCP announced a new institute to fight back against conservative assaults on civil rights.

As President and CEO of the NCBCP Melanie L. Campbell said, “In the face of pervasive attacks on our rights, freedoms, and democracy, the launch of the NCBCP Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., Institute and the Southern Organizing Leadership Convening are crucial steps toward countering racial and systemic assaults.”

“We are bringing together national and Southern state leaders to strategize and plan for short- and long-term solutions. By uniting the power of the ballot, the book, and the buck, we are laser focused on rebuilding hope, justice, equity, and equality in Black America,” continued Campbell who also serves as Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable.

The NCBCP Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. Institute for Leadership, Civic Engagement, Economic Empowerment and Social Justice is named in honor of the former chairman of the NCBCP board, Thomas W. Dortch, Jr., who died earlier this year.

Dortch was also “nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal by the Georgia Congressional Delegation—in recognition of his significant contributions across America in lifting Black Americans and other marginalized people, communities, and institutions that continue to struggle for economic mobility, access to greater opportunities, equity, and equality for all people.”

Before his untimely passing at the age of 72, Dortch was integral in establishing the institute, which will be housed on CAU’s campus.

The NCBCP “is the country’s longest-serving and largest historically Black-led national civil rights coalition, has a historic reach in the South, where active and robust state-based affiliates are based.”

This will build upon the previous 47 years of work by the NCBCP in both “the Southern Region and nationally, helping to implement additional strategic and effective programming, training, issue advocacy, and entrepreneurship institutes throughout Black urban and rural communities across the South, including AL, FL, GA, LA, MS & VA.”

The NCBCP TWD Jr, Institute is funded by an initial $1 million investment by the NCBCP, and “will provide internships, graduate assistantships, and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students at CAU and other HBCUs in The South—with a focus on voting rights, racial justice, economics, and other social justice issues affecting Black and other communities impacted by systemic racism and social injustice.”

Additionally, The Institute “will host national and regional summits, forums and civic engagement trainings at CAU including,” the following events: “the Annual Voting Rights, Racial, Economic & Social Justice National Summit; the Annual Black  Youth Vote Civic Leadership & Organizing Southern Regional Training Conference; Civil Rights & Social Justice Intergenerational Leadership Lecture Series; and the Andrew Young Emerging Leadership Institute (AYEL), in collaboration with National  Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.”

As part of the launch, the inaugural convening of leaders, formally denoted as the “Rebuild Hope, Justice, Equity and Equality” Southern Organizing Leadership Convening” discussed pressing issues, such as reproductive, workers, LGBTQ+, and voting rights, all guided under the overarching theme of “The Power of the Ballot, the Book, and the Buck.”


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