9/10/12--On Wednesday, September 12, the newly formed National Council of Elders (NCOE) will release the Greensboro Declaration, the first statement of the organization since its founding a month ago. The Declaration challenges political candidates of all parties and all Americans to go beyond the issues now being put forward in the election campaign, to address the underlying crises America faces and explore a deeper vision for our country.
The NCOE founding conference was held in Greensboro, NC, site of the historic Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, which represented a major advance in the civil rights struggle.
The Declaration will be presented at significant historic sites of struggle and freedom, with the anchor site being the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. Other sites will be in Detroit, MI; and New York. Press conferences will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the areas' respective time zones. In Washin g ton, five Elders will also at 2:15 p.m. lead a discussion at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Greensboro Declaration Launch Sites
Washington, DC: ML King, Jr. Memorial
New York: Zuccotti Park
Detroit: New Bethel Baptist Church
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
11:00 am (local time)
"This statement represents a new epoch," said 97-year-old Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs, the eldest member of the NCOE and author of The Next American Revolution. "It calls on Americans to become engaged in a different kind of citizenship, one that transforms their souls in addition to asking them to go to the polls."
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, 78-year-old director of The Shalom Center, pointed out that the Council of Elders includes a number of passionately religious leaders of varied traditions, as well as a number of more secular activists -- all engaged today as they were fifty years ago in movements for social change. "Our commitment to work together in a framework of nonviolent action is an index to our shared concern for the interwoven crises that America and the world now face," he said.
Called into formation by civil rights veterans Rev. James Lawson, Rev. Phil Lawson and Dr. Vincent Harding, members of the NCOE represent years of committed activism in every major human rights movement of the 20th Century.
Other NCOE members and signers of the Declaration include:
- Bernice Johnson Reagon, who made and still makes powerful music a crucial part of SNCC and the Freedom Movement
- Harry Belafonte, Activist/Performer
- Dolores Huerta, Labor Leader / Civil Rights Activist