Thousands of people attended National Action Network’s (NAN) annual national convention April 3-6 in New York City, including delegates from more than 60 NAN chapters across the country. The convention concluded with major announcement by Rev. Al Sharpton, NAN founder and president, regarding action plans formulated during the convention.
Firstly, the organization targeted major private corporations about their employment, procurement, and inclusion practices at board levels.
“The reason that Black unemployment has remained high is that the public sector jobs are being cut while the private sector has increased jobs but lowered its commitment to inclusion and hiring and doing business in our community,” said Rev. Sharpton. “NAN intends to go at major industries that sell their goods in our community but do no good with our community.”
NAN also started an “Alert Watch” since the Supreme Court is deciding on Affirmative Action and Section 5 of The Voting Rights Act–both of which Rev. Sharpton attended the oral arguments for at the Supreme Court—and NAN has issued an alert that will go into action in the event that the Supreme Court overturns either of the aforementioned policies.
Sharpton called on NAN delegates to put pressure on their Senators to vote on stronger Gun legislation that could come up for debate in the Senate this week.
A key highlight of the convention took place on April 4, the actual date of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968, as NAN hosted its 15th Annual Keepers of the Dream Awards. The awards honor those who have continued to advocate for the principles for which Dr. King gave his life.
Other highlights included the Measuring the Movement forum on the final day that brought together three generations of civil rights leaders to discuss strategies on what can be done to sustain civil rights and the social justice movement regardless of what the court’s decisions may be.The forum featured civil rights leaders and a review by some of the legends of the civil rights movement regarding the progress made and mistakes made in the 50 years since the “March in Washington.” The Forum included civil rights icons Rev. Joseph Lowery, Juanita Abernathy, Otis Moss, Jr., and Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others.