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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Morial Calls For New Civil Rights Movement

Marc Morial calls for new Civil Rights Movement. National Urban League Photo/Lawrence Jenkins.
Marc Morial calls for new Civil Rights Movement. National Urban League Photo/Lawrence Jenkins.

PHILADELPHIA (NNPA) – National Urban League President Marc H. Morial has  called for “a new civil rights movement,” one that will focus on economic  empowerment and justice.

Morial, now in his 10th year as president and CEO of the nation’s  second-oldest civil rights organization, announced his proposal last Wednesday  nights at his group’s annual convention here.

After citing tremendous progress made over the past 50 years, Morial said,  “The challenge before us now is to create a new ‘Civil Rights Movement for  Economic Empowerment and Justice.’  If 1963 was about jobs and freedom –  two, zero, one, three is about economic empowerment and justice…a continuation  movement standing on the shoulders of progress in which a new generation of  Blacks, whites, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, Jews, Gentiles,  Protestants, Catholics, Hindus, Muslims – people from all walks of life,  dispositions and orientations coalesce around working together to ensure that  the promise of life, liberty and economic opportunity becomes real for this  generation.  We started it 50 years ago, and it’s time to finish our  business.”

Morial said, “Now, let me be clear.  I do not naively believe that this  happens overnight.  But when we are all committed to the kind of progress  that can advance our nation and our democracy toward the ‘land of equal  opportunity’ that we can be, our shared vision can certainly outweigh our  superficial differences.”

With a March on Washington planned for Aug. 24, the National Urban League  leader said just as Blacks have fought for basic rights in the past, such as the  right to vote and have full access to public accommodations, African-Americans  are now in another fight to preserve those gains.

“But there are extreme forces – not from Main Street or the mainstream for  that matter – that seek to turn back the clock on 50 years of progress,” he  stated. “A small group of people with very loud voices and deep pockets are  putting the rights of gun owners over the safety of our streets and the lives of  our children.  Those same people criticize our First Amendment right to  peacefully assemble to express our grievances, yet favor those senseless Stand  Your Ground laws that make our streets less safe, perpetuate ongoing conviction  and incarceration disparities and lead to tragedies like the shooting death of  Trayvon Martin.”

Martin, 17 and unarmed, was shot to death by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood  watch captain in Sanford, Fla., as he was returning to the home of one of his  father’s friends after purchasing a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona Tea  from a local convenience store.

“I was saddened as most of you when the verdict was announced.  I’ve  said it before, and I will repeat it here – with the not guilty verdict in the  trial of George Zimmerman, the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s death has become a  travesty and miscarriage of justice. We must accept the jury’s decision under  the due process of our legal system.  But we have made it clear that this  is far from over” said Morial, an attorney and former mayor of New Orleans.

He noted, “On behalf of the National Urban League and Urban League Movement,  many of us have joined the leaders of the NAACP, National Action Network, the  Black Women’s Roundtable, La Raza, and others in calling on and commending the  Department of Justice for pursuing a federal criminal civil rights investigation  in an effort to determine whether any federal laws were violated by George  Zimmerman in connection with the death of Trayvon Martin.  Stand Your  Ground laws – and those similar to them – must be reviewed and rejected.”

Some conservative commentators have accused civil rights leaders of being  concerned when a Trayvon Martin is killed by a George Zimmerman, who has White  and Latino lineage, but not when Blacks kill other Blacks.

Conservative TV host Bill O’Reilly said, “It was wrong for Zimmerman to  confront Martin based on his appearance. But the culture that we have in this  country does lead to criminal profiling because young Black American men are so  often involved in crime.”

He also said, “When was the last time you saw a public service ad telling  young Black girls to avoid becoming pregnant? Has President Obama done such an  ad? How about [Jesse] Jackson or [Al] Sharpton? Has the Congressional Black  Caucus demanded an ad like that? How about the PC pundits who work for NBC  News?”

O’Reilly continued, “White people don’t force Black people to have babies out  of wedlock. That’s a personal decision. A decision that has devastated millions  of children and led to disaster, both socially and economically.”

Morial said conservatives are misstating the facts.

”I am outraged when Black teens kill Black teens or when gangbangers take the  lives of another gangbanger and all too often, innocent bystanders.  I am  outraged at the violence that has taken far too many of our nameless, faceless  and now forgotten young people…whether in Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, New  Orleans or any other city,” he stated.

“I am outraged by underachievement and low test scores…by parents that won’t  live up to their responsibilities. So, for anyone who says we have no concern  about what’s happening in our communities every day, they are not in our  churches to hear our prayers.  They are not in our community meetings to  hear our conversations and see us working toward solutions.  They are not  in our kitchens to feel the anguish and the pain when yet another one of our  loved ones is senselessly taken from us,” Morial said, with his voice dripping  with emotion. “They are not part of this organization or others that work on a  daily basis to impact the legislation that perpetuates inequality, or to develop  the programs that ensure our children are ready for college and careers, or to  work with those whom society has flippantly discarded and denied a second  chance.  Quite simply, they are not there.  However, we invite them  along this journey with us should they ever choose to trade in uninformed  criticism for constructive action.”

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