CONTACT: Teresa Candori
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Pamela Rucker Springs
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 3, 2012) -- The nation must commit to economic and educational parity for communities of color, according to a communiqué approved by an historic gathering of nearly 60 of America's leading civil rights, social justice, business and community leaders in Washington, D.C., today.

"The plight of the African-American community underscores the urgency of our demand," the leaders wrote. "The African-American community was disproportionately battered by the Great Recession, and has benefited the least from the fragile economic recovery. Unemployment remains unacceptably high; income inequality and the ever-widening wealth gap threaten to relegate the black community to perpetual underclass status. And those who wish to curtail investment education and career preparation further dim the prospects for upward mobility for our young people."

The meeting was convened by Marc H. Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League, Rev. Al Sharpton of National Action Network, Ben Jealous, NAACP, and Melanie Campbell, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.

Created as a first step in developing a public policy agenda for Black America, the communiqué outlined five urgent priorities for the nation:

* Achieve Economic Parity for African-Americans
* Promote Equity in Educational Opportunity
* Protect and Defend Voting Rights
* Promote a Healthier Nation by Eliminating Healthcare Disparities
* Achieve Comprehensive Reform of the Criminal Justice System

"We come together at this historic juncture to articulate our vision for those priorities that can—and must—drive economic recovery and rebirth not just for the African-American community, but also for urban communities and all low-income and working-class Americans," the leaders wrote.

"As we approach the 50th anniversary of the Great March on Washington and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, we must have a seat at the table to fully leverage the talents, intellectual capital and contributions of our leaders to craft a domestic agenda that brings African-Americans closer to parity and equality, and fulfills the promise of these milestones."

A copy of the full communiqué is attached and a list of attendees is below.

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Attendees for the African American Leaders Convening
December 3, 2012
Washington, DC

Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President, National Action Network
Melanie L. Campbell, President and CEO Convener, Black Women's Roundtable, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Benjamin Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP
Hillary Shelton, SVP, Advocacy and Public Policy, NAACP
Barbara Arnwine, Esq. Executive Director, The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Wade Henderson President, Leadership Conference of Civik and Human Rights and Counsel to the Leadership Conference Education Fund
Marian Wright Edelman President, Children's Defense Fund Rep.
Emanuel Cleaver II U.S. Representative for Missouri's 5th Congressional District
Burrell Ellis Chief Executive Officer, Dekalb County, Georgia
Rev. W. Franklyn Richardson Chairman, Conference of Black Churches
Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner President, Skinner Leadership Institute and Co-Chair, National African-American Clergy Network
Pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant Empowerment Temple AME Church
Lezli Baskerville , J.D. President and CEO, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever Executive Director, National Council of Negro Women
Dr. E. Faye Williams , Esq. Chair, National Congress of Black Women
Minyon Moore , Founder, America Coming Together and Manager, State and Local Affairs Practice, Dewey Square Group
Rev. Lennox Yearwood President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus
Brandi Richard President, National Urban League Young Professionals
Jessica Brown National Black Youth Vote! Coordinator, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
Becky Pringle Secretary-Treasurer, National Education Association
Elizabeth Powell Secretary-Treasurer, American Postal Workers Union
Clayola Brown National President, A. Phillip Randolph Institute
Arlene Holt-Baker Executive Vice-President, AFL-CIO
Terry Melvin President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Rep. Cloves Campbell, Jr. Chairman, National Newspaper Publishers Association
William G. Tompkins, Jr. President, National Newspaper Publishers Association
Robert S. Johns Executive Director, National Dental Association
Jerald L. Tillman, LUTCF Founder, National African-American Insurance Association
Rudy Loney Chair, National African-American Insurance Association
Julie Cunningham President and CEO, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials
Dr. Ron Daniels Founder, State of the Black World 21st Century
Ron Busby, Sr. President, U.S. Black Chamber, Inc.
Lawrence Parks President, Potomac Coalition, Federal Home Loan Bank
Harry E. Johnson President and CEO, Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation
Curley Dossman Chairman, 100 Black Men, Inc.
Laura Murphy, Director, Washington Legislative Office, ACLU
Lamell McMorris Founder and CEO, Perennial Law Group, LLP
Dr. Elsie Scott Director, Ronald Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, Howard University
Dr. Bernard Anderson Chairman, National Urban League Council of Economic Advisors
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University
Ralph Everett President and CEO, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Dr. Stephen J. Thurston President, National Baptist Convention of America, Incorporated, International
Warren Ballentine Attorney, activist and radio host