Petition to Save the National Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Petition to Save the National Southern Christian Leadership Conference

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Keith Silver started this petition to Southern Christian Leadership Conference National Board of Directors and

On February 14, 1957 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Rev. David Abernathy, Bayard Rustin, Rev. S.L. Harvey, and Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery came together to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. These giants declared that the mission of the organization would be to serve as the “Soul of America”. They embarked on a journey to tear down the walls of segregation and to cash a check from America made payable to African-Americans that had been returned insufficient funds. SCLC through grassroots advocacy and non-violent protest would help lead the Civil Rights Movement and change the face of this nation. Although it pains us to pen this letter, we must come to you today because the Soul of SCLC has been lost under the leadership Dr. Charles Steele and Bernard Lafayette.

We are very appreciative of the work you have done in the past. However, the time of resting on the laurels of building a national headquarters and selling our history to Emory University is over. For the past five years the membership base of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference has been systematically excluded from the governance of the organization. We have no voice in the organization, and those who attempt to obtain information from the National SCLC are attacked and vilified. This is not the way of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Chapters are the lifeblood of SCLC and the national office should be engaged in activities to strengthen chapters rather than suspended chapters without cause or due process. It is ridiculous that our communities are besieged with poverty, racism, and police brutality while the National SCLC office has unilaterally decided that SCLC is no longer a movement. Instead, our current leadership relentlessly declares that SCLC is business and the time for marching and demonstrating has passed.

In recent years under the leadership of Charles Steele, the chapters have been treated with blatant disrespect. The national office refuses to provide ongoing communications to keep the chapter leadership updated, refuses to process memberships in a timely fashion, and refuses to provide updated financial information to its base. As a result of the refusal to provide members and the public with this information, it has become almost impossible to convince others to support the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The National Office is quick to criticize those who ask them to provide transparency and accountability, but  remain silent when the President of the United States declares his intention to nullify the 14th Amendment. Indeed, on last night we had two African-American men and an African-American woman come within a few thousand votes of being declared Governor of the states of Maryland, Florida, and Georgia. However, absent a recent press conference where the national office joined a voter suppression lawsuit, the National Office is virtually nonexistent in every fight for progressive justice. It is embarrassing and unacceptable that our leadership is not on the front lines waving the banner of SCLC.

Therefore, we are hereby requesting that President Charles Steele and Dr. Bernard Lafayette resign in order that membership can come together to call a convention to elect new leadership. It has come to our attention that SCLC has lost its tax-exempt status, and therefore an organizing group is being formed to present a slate of officers to the SCLC Board of Directors during the 2019 Annual SCLC Convention. We are not interested in filing anymore lawsuits and further eroding the credibility of our beloved organization. This is not a matter for the courts to decide, but this decision lies with the people. We have one goal. Reclaim SCLC.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!