Bahai News - NCCJ Leads Organizing Efforts for Presidentially
Initiated Faith Summit On Race Relations
NCCJ Leads Organizing Efforts for Presidentially Initiated
Faith Summit On Race Relations
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 9, 2000--
Faith Leaders Identify Action Steps for Racial Justice
The National Conference for Community and Justice today assisted the
President in a working session on race relations with 150 religious
leaders, who identified a series of actions they are committed to
implementing over the next decade. The summit, entitled "Call to Action:
The President's One America Meeting with Religious Leaders," was led
by President William J. Clinton, Sanford Cloud, Jr., NCCJ president and
chief executive officer, and Ben Johnson, Director of the Office for
the President's Initiative for One America.
The summit provided an opportunity for a diverse group of faith leaders
from across the country to meet with the President and discuss their
ongoing initiatives to promote nationwide racial justice - and bold new
initiatives to create an inclusive, just and truly United States.
Sanford Cloud, Jr. announced that participating faith leaders
identified racism as an evil that must be addressed. "Racism is a sin,
a problem of the heart - and overcoming racism is a top priority for
our nation," said Cloud. "We came together here today to show our
support for racial reconciliation and will work within our communities
to translate national efforts into community practices."
NCCJ was asked by the White House to lead this initiative on the
future of racial justice in America because of its long history of
fighting bias, bigotry and racism. Commitments made by NCCJ for future
action by the group include:
Creating an information "clearinghouse" on faith-based practices and
strategies for racial reconciliation for others to replicate, which will
be posted on NCCJ's web site.
Publishing a text of theological and scriptural beliefs that support
the conclusion that racism is a sin.
Training for theological students on racism and how to effectively
assist their faith institutions and communities to work toward racial
reconciliation and interfaith collaborations.
Curriculum models for faith leaders on how to hold grassroots
interreligious forums on anti-racism.
Identification of potential public policy initiatives that
communities of faith can collectively undertake at the local and
national levels to advance racial justice. These measures and others
will be implemented over the next decade as part of a long term
initiative to promote racial justice and end intolerance in the United
States. "Today, with this summit, the faith communities, in all their
rich diversity, have furthered their historic and rightful role of
leadership in the battle against racism and the intergroup prejudices
that continue to challenge our nation," said Cloud.
"This is not a one-year plan, or even a ten-year plan. This is a
massive and historic effort in need of national leaders who can inspire
and mobilize individuals and entire institutions to follow them on the
path to a more inclusive and just society for all. NCCJ is proud to have
the opportunity to work among these leaders in this effort."
A diverse roster of faiths and denominations were represented,
including Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Seventh-Day
Adventists, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Baha'i and Native American
Participants included: Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister,
Riverside Church; Rabbi Paul Menitoff, Executive Vice President, Central
Conference of American Rabbis; Imam Mujahid Ramadan, former President,
American Muslim Council; Dr. Kathleen S. Hurty, General Director, Church
Women United; Chief Jake Swamp, Mohawk Nation; and Bishop Jane Holmes
Dixon, Episcopal Church. "These are the men and women who represent the
diverse faiths in our country," Cloud said. "They are capable of making
national commitments to create change and then organizing action at the
local level to turn the plan into day-to-day reality."
Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, the Executive Director of the Interfaith
Alliance, in responding to today's events, said: "I applaud NCCJ for
undertaking the responsibility to help us work together and make a
difference on issues of racial reconciliation. Our nation needs to be
reinvigorated in the important work of moving toward racial justice
and, with NCCJ and the participating faith leaders making a commitment
today, we can create the changes we need."
NCCJ, founded over 70 years ago as The National Conference of
Christians and Jews, is a human relations organization dedicated to
fighting bias, bigotry and racism and promoting understanding and
respect among all. Long recognized for its interfaith work, NCCJ today
serves 65 regions in 35 states and the District of Columbia and works
to build communities of justice through its initiatives with youth,
educators, community and workplace leaders, media and government, and
across faith lines.
©Copyright 2000, AltaVista ®
Page last updated/revised 031200
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page