Sixty years ago, young activists gathered at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina to begin planning their generation’s obligation to continue a struggle begun long before they were born: the Freedom and Empowerment of Black people. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was born out of this gathering. SNCC was then the only youth-led national civil rights organization. Now, at this important time in our history, we invite you to join us on April 16 -19, 2020 as we gather in Washington, DC to carry this struggle forward.
We are veterans of SNCC, and we know that the struggle continues. We have certainly had victories; there would be no Voting Rights Act without the grassroots work associated with SNCC. Southern apartheid was broken by direct action challenges to it. But we also know much remains to be done. A frontal assault on voting rights is underway now. Economic disparities have gotten wider. The question of where we go from here looms before us larger than ever before. As well, the all-important question of how we organize to gain the necessary power to build a society that genuinely serves the interests of the people still remains before us.
Given a white supremacist U.S. president, a cowardly Congress, and media that prefer entertainment to substance, it would be easy to sink into a deep well of despair. But new, mostly young forces -- ranging from the diverse array of organizations that comprise the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), Young Peoples Project, United We Drean, an NAACP being revitalized by younger leadership, and young Black and Brown politicians like Stacey Abrams and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – are challenging establishment orthodoxy and offering new promise. Much of this is the product of our work back in the day. And much existing strength to gain the power to move forward will be examined at this gathering, drawing on the experience of earlier struggles.
We plan to bring together not just SNCC veterans, but a wide array of today’s young on-the-ground activists and organizers. Reaching across generations, our 6Oth is intended to consider the past and the present with the aim of addressing the kind of future we can build and strategies for doing so. It will acknowledge what remains to be done without apologizing for what has not yet been done. It is not a gathering of reminiscence. It is a gathering of strength and will to face the future with determination, optimism… and continued organizing.
The SNCC Legacy Project 6Oth Planning Committee
Contact email: info@SNCC60thAnniversary.org
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