WASHINGTON, D.C. — In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Black Unity Family, a diverse, nonpartisan coalition of groups and individuals co-convened by Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Dr. Joseph E. Lowery, Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner and Melanie L. Campbell, released the following “Letter to Fellow Americans.”

Where Do We Go From Here?
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly…. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy….” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

National Coalition on Black Civic ParticipationDear Fellow Americans:
On this, the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we, a diverse, nonpartisan, intergenerational coalition of African-American groups and individuals, have come together so that our voices will be clearly heard.

Our community has a great stake in this presidential election, and issues that we are most concerned about must be addressed.

We share with all Americans a call for the prompt ending of the war in Iraq, universal health care, access to quality education, affordable housing free from predatory lenders, quality jobs and economic stability.

Our particular domestic and global priorities include: re-creating a high-wage economy, transforming underserved schools, increasing funding for historically Black colleges and universities, restoring communities devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, reconstructing a Supreme Court committed to justice for all, sustaining strong enforcement of civil rights laws and rebuilding urban and rural infrastructures.

We also call for expanding HIV/AIDS research, the recognition of workers’ rights to organize, entrepreneurial opportunity, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, the reduction of disproportionately high incarceration rates, and support for the growth and development of Caribbean and African nations. These are critical human rights issues.

Our churches have been our moral foundation and prophetic witness for justice and equality since slavery, holding up a mirror on areas where the nation falls short of these virtues.

We strongly uphold the right to religious freedom of expression as reflected in our churches and other faith institutions.

Our unpaid labor, creativity, blood, sweat and tears helped build America. Today, we seek to work with Americans of all faiths, races and ethnic backgrounds to heal long-standing wounds in our nation.

Let us all join together to realize Dr. King’s vision of social, racial and economic justice for all – for the love of our children and for future generations.

The Black Unity Family
(Partial list. For a full list go to )

    Maya Angelou
    Barbara Arnwine
    Vanita Banks
    Cora Masters Barry
    Lezli Baskerville
    Julian Bond
    Donna Brazile
    Clayola Brown
    Khephra Burns
    Melanie Campbell
    Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook
    Johnnetta B. Cole
    Prof. Kimberly Crenshaw
    Felicia Davis
    Al Dotson
    Thomas W. Dortch
    Rev. Gerald Durley
    Michael Eric Dyson
    Hazel Edney
    DeAnna Evans
    Ralph Everett
    Isaac Farris
    Danny Glover
    Dennis Hayes
    Hon. Glenda Hatchett
    Dr. Dorothy I. Height
    Gerald Hudson
    Rev. Jesse Jackson
    Benjamin Jealous
    Keith Jennings
    Jeff Johnson
    Oscar Joyner
    Maulana Karenga
    Martin Luther King, III
    Bishop Eddie Long
    Evelyn Lowery
    Rev. Joseph Lowery
    William Lucy
    Julianne Malveaux
    Darryl Matthews.
    Bishop E. Earl McCloud, Jr.
    Terry McMillan
    Barbara McKinzie
    Bishop Vashti McKenzie
    Brenda Girton Mitchell
    Rev. Judith C. Moore
    Marc Morial
    Constance Newman
    Charles Ogletree
    Kevin Parker
    Rev. Tyrone S. Pitts
    Steve Phillips
    Kevin Powell
    Lois A. Rice
    Elsie Scott
    Rev. Al Sharpton
    Beverly Guy-Shefthall
    Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich
    Bev Smith
    Jane E. Smith
    Rev. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr.
    Hon. Calvin Smyre
    Charles Steele
    Beverly Daniel Tatum
    Susan L. Taylor
    Rev. Regena Thomas
    Cicely Tyson
    Iyanla Vanzant
    Rev. C. T. Vivian
    LaKimba DeSadier-Walker
    Ronald Walters
    Shelley Wynter
    Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner
    Terrie Williams
    Richard Womack
    Hon. Andrew Young

NEWS SOURCE: National Coalition on Black Civic Participation / Black Unity Family

Valerie G, editor at CANW
Valerie G has been an editor with California Newswire for several years, is a gifted theremin player, can quote copious lines from 'Red Dwarf' and also knows where her towel is. Oddly, she does not drive, nor does she take the bus. She identifies as both human and democrat.