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SCLC’S 49th Annual Convention, ‘After 50 Years: Join Us In Living, Fulfilling, Perpetuating The Dream,’ Welcomes Activist Aug. 3-8 in Atlanta


ATLANTA – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is adding a 21st Century focus on financial empowerment and quality health care to its longstanding dedication to civil rights and co-founder Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolent social change in its 49th Annual Conference and 50th anniversary year, said Dr. Charles Steele, president and CEO of the organization.

“We are very proud to have attained this milestone anniversary,” Dr. Steele said, “and we look forward to welcoming prominent leaders from the political, social and civil rights arenas to our Convention.”

“After 50 Years: Join Us in Living, Fulfilling and Perpetuating the Dream,” the 49th Annual Conference of the SCLC, will be held Aug. 3-8, 2007, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Atlanta. A schedule of Convention sessions is available at, the SCLC’s Web site.

President Bill Clinton has confirmed his attendance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the SCLC’s new Headquarters, located at 30 Auburn Ave. in downtown Atlanta, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 6.

Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and Rev. Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network, also have confirmed their attendance at convention events. Democratic Senators and leading presidential contenders Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Barack Obama of Illinois, as well as candidate John Edwards, are among the political leaders invited to attend the Convention.

The women’s division of SCLC will honor prominent women in communications during an awards dinner and celebration, 7 PM Saturday, August 4, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. Broadcasting pioneer and activist, Xernona Clayton, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. Honorees include radio personality Bev Smith and CNN anchor, Soledad O’Brien.

Rev. Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the SCLC and its president from 1977 to 1997, will be keynote speaker at the Awards Gala on Tuesday, Aug. 7. The Convention also will include a celebration honoring the life of Yolanda King, eldest daughter of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King, and friend of the movement, who recently passed away at the age of 51.

“The relationships we have been developing with our corporate supporters are allowing us to branch out into very practical areas of concern that we will be addressing with Convention sessions and workshops,” Dr. Steele said.

CompuCredit, EnviroSource and Merck Pharmaceuticals are supporting the SCLC’s mission to address financial empowerment programs, environmental challenges, and health care and education disparities.

In keeping with the SCLC’s mission of perpetuating Dr. King’s legacy of nonviolence, sessions teaching conflict resolution for young people will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4 and 5.

Additional sessions for youth and young adults will deal with how to use hip-hop music as a tool for social change.

In addition, Dr. Steele said, the organization retains its dedication to social action. “Now and as long as necessary, we will maintain our presence in the streets,” Dr. Steele said. “We are called to provide a voice for the underserved and neglected in our society.”

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is a nonprofit, non-sectarian, inter-faith, advocacy organization that is committed to non-violent action to achieve social, economic and political justice. The SCLC consists of local chapters and affiliates worldwide that support the mission of the international organization and work in their own communities to implement programs such as conflict resolution, voter registration, improvement of education, and direct action against racial injustice. Established in 1957 by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others, the SCLC is dedicated to promoting human rights throughout the United States and abroad. To learn more, please visit



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