July_05_223On Friday, July 29th, 2005, the National Urban League, as led by my friend and colleague Marc Morial, and the Black Leadership Forum, as led by my friend and partner Joe Leonard, conducted a panel on "Civil Rights and Civil Engagement, a Call to Action (Year 2020)," as part of the 95th Annual NUL Conference in Washington, D.C.  Sharing the stage at this prestigious gathering were civil rights icons, including Dr. Dorothy Height, Reverend Joseph Lowery and Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr, amongst others (oh, and yes, me as well – smile).

July_05_221Other esteemed panelists included Lezli Baskerville, Esq., President & Chief Executive Officer, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO); Melanie L. Campbell, Executive Director, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; Theodore M. Shaw, Esq., Director-Counsel & President, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF); Kim Keenan, Esq., President, National Bar Association, and Senior Trial Attorney, Jack Olender & Associates, and Reg Weaver, President, National Education Association (NEA). Joe Leonard, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Black Leadership Forum, Inc., led the discussion.

As you can see from the MP3 of the complete and very important panel discussion, available by download here… The Reverend Lowery prodded and pushed for America to be "better…"

Download 01_john_bryant_joe_leonard_dr. Dor.mp3

Dr. Dorothy Height reminded us from whence we came and gave some guidance for the future…

The Reverend Jackson called for continued vigilance, and constructive friction with those in power…

Reg Weaver of the National Education Association challenged all to make our schools work, and to do something, each of us, and not just complain about what is not being done (and I proudly noted that HOPE and Banking on Our Future is in more than 500 public schools nationwide with our movement work!)…

Theodore M. Shaw, Esq., Director-Counsel & President, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., offered thoughtful concern around a need for balance on the Supreme Court over the next 20 years, and warned of a pending "class crisis" in America over the same period.

And I of course called for a new "Silver Rights Movement" in America, and with that, a specific 6 point action agenda.

I argued that financial literacy was a "silver right," homeownership wealth was a "silver right," business wealth was a "silver right," health and wellness was a "silver right," your spiritual wealth was a "silver right," and owning yourself, and having some reasonable control of your future destiny in this life, was the ultimate aim of the "Silver Rights" Movement.  That ultimately, no one is going to save us, "but us!"

My six point agenda included;

1. Wealth

2. Self

3. Spirit

4. Reason

5. Politics, with a purpose (the "Get It Done Party")!

6. Personal Empowerment…

….Let me know what you think!

Bravo and hat’s off to the NUL, Marc Morial and the Urban League family nationwide!

Onward, with HOPE

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