Grassroots Activists Gather to Launch African-American Political Think-Tank”
April 4, 2019. Griffin, Georgia. On April 13, 2019, a week after the commemoration of the April 4, 2019 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, grassroots activists from across the country will travel to Griffin, GA to strategize over the creation of a Black Political Agenda. In anticipation of the 2020 Presidential election, nearly 100 grassroots activists, members of academia, attorneys and other social justice advocates will come together in a call to action.
Rev. Richard Dalton sees the Griffin Gathering as an extension of the work of Dr. King, stating, ”In view of the violence and downward social and economic spiral that exist in distressed African American communities, “The Griffin Gathering" attempts to answer a question posed in Dr. King’s book, "Where Do We Go From Here?” The Griffin Gathering will bring grass-root leaders from across the country to present models of ministry and strategic plans that attempt to answer the question that has not been adequately addressed since Dr. King’s death 51 years ago”.
The meeting is being convened by Attorney Dexter Wimbish, Former General Counsel of the National Southern Christian Leadership Conference, to create a space where social justice advocates can come together to develop a platform for impending national elections. “There is a thirst and hunger for political organizing in the African-American community that puts the needs of African-Americans front and center in the political discourse. We still believe in the importance of coalitional work, but increasingly our voices are not being heard, “ remarked Wimbish.
The one-day teach in attempts to connect members of traditional civil rights organizations with new activists who view community organizing in a very new way. The day will feature presenters working on voter registration, records restriction, special education, and church-based organizing who will present organizing models that can be replicated in local communities across the United States. One of the outcomes of the meeting will be a local organizing handbook that will be available in a digital and hard copy format.
According to Wimbish, “There are thousands of community-based organizations like Jana Stokes’ Ryan's Gifts, which advocates for youth with special education needs, who are doing incredible work at the local level. These models need to be recorded and made available to other communities suffering with similar problems. This work needs to be driven by data provided by the academic community but there has to be implementation at the local level. More importantly we must towards more strategic political organizing. Similar gatherings are scheduled for Baton Rouge, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; St. Louis, MO; and Jackson, MS before the 2020 election.
Darryl Gray, the St, Louis Gathering Convener, says his community's gathering will be an "activists summit” stating “St Louis is ground zero for the New Civil Rights Movement. Just as Dr. King, Rev, Ralph David Abernathy, and Rev, Fred Shuttlesworth declared Birmingham to be the front line of the movement in the 1960's, we have drawn a line in the sand here. We refuse to stand silent in the face of overt attempts to try and force us once again to the back of the bus".
The event is free and open to the public on April 13, 2019 from 9am to 5pm. The location is the Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church, 132 Cherry Street, Griffin, GA 30224.
FEATURED HONOREE: C.T. VIVIAN RECEIVES THE LEADERS AND LEGENDS EXCELLENCE The Leaders and Legends Organization Spotlight: Civil Rights Icon, C.T. Vivian received The Leaders and Legends Excellence Award, Sunday, September 15, 2013 during the staged reading THE FOUR LITTLE GIRLS: Birmingham 1963 at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA.