20,000 to attend Black Caucus meet

Against the background of the historic Jena Six march in Louisiana, deepening poverty in African American neighborhoods, a raging war in Iraq and a growing prison population, over 20,000 political activists, students and clergy will converge on Washington for the annual Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Legislative Conference.

Recognizing that there are a record 43 African American members of Congress and that CBC members hold key leadership positions, conference organizers say that they will challenge legislators and citizens to use their collective power to level the playing field for African Americans.

“African Americans must address the countless disparities that affect our quality of life,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), conference co-chair. “Coming out of the conference, we must harness our power and renew our commitment toward strengthening our families and communities.”

Donna Christensen of the U.S. Virgin Islands, also a co-chair, added, “We want this conference to bring generations of leaders together to reflect on conditions in our communities, share ideas and solutions and enliven our desire for change.”

The conference features expert-led forums on education, health care, the environment, economic development, criminal justice, transportation and international affairs.

Oscar winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. and actress Gabrielle Union will co-host the awards dinner honoring outstanding grassroots individuals from across the country.