*National Action Network (NAN) is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation, with numerous local chapters around the country. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for social justice and one standard of justice and decency for all people regardless of race, religion, national origin, and gender.
On Monday, January 17, 2011 NAN hosted its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (King Day) activities to celebrate the legacy of civil rights on a national scale. The celebration took place in Washington, DC, New York City and Newark, New Jersey.
The theme of education and anti-violence was the focus of the commemorative King Day events highlighted by NAN’s continued work around education including recent events around the country such as the gun buy back and the anti-violence summit NAN led in New York City with the NYPD and more.
The awesome activities kicked off in Washington, DC at The Madison A Loews Hotel, 1177 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC with a King Day breakfast at 8:00 a.m. that was attended by leaders in civil rights, labor, education, public policy and clergy.
Attendees gathered in harmony to hear a theme of pursuing equality in education including a keynote address by US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and remarks by AFT President Randi Weingarten, Assistant Secretary of Labor William Spriggs, and EPA Director Lisa Jackson.
King Day attendees reconvened at NAN’s national headquarters, House of Justice, 106 West 145th Street at Lenox Avenue, Harlem, New York. The forenoon festivities were attended by high profile national figures including New York State elected officials, activists, community leaders and clergy.
The powerful political menu consisted of remarks from Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and former NYC Mayor David N. Dinkins, followed by a panel on Anti-Violence.
The forum ended with a Town Hall Meeting broadcast live on WBLS-FM radio to discuss stemming the tide of gun violence in our community. King Day came to a memorable closed with a special service in Newark, New Jersey, at the Metropolitan Baptist Church, 149 Springfield Avenue, Newark, New Jersey.
NAN pledged to further its education efforts in 2011 with a tour across the country to shed light upon the achievement gap. To that end, Rev. Sharpton has called education reform the civil rights issue of the 21st Century and a key component of NAN’s agenda. (Photos by Seitu Oronde)
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.