Despite an African-American president and the demographic reality that we’ll soon be in the days of “minority majorities,” a significant measure of racist discrimination remains persistent. To mark this year’s Black History Month, I’ve assembled a list of organizations working to confront this pernicious stain on the American Experiment. A great way to celebrate the month would be to support their work.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice on issues like environmental racism, media diversity, economic opportunity and climate justice under the leadership of the venerable groups’ youngest executive director ever, Ben Jealous.
The Hip Hop Caucus
Established in 2004, the primary focus of the Hip Hop Caucus, a civil and human rights organization for the twenty-first century, is to engage young people and people of color in the civic and policy making process.
Established in 1971 by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, People United to Save Humanity (later changed from “Save” to “Serve”)—PUSH, is an organization dedicated to improving the economic conditions of black communities across the United States. PUSH employs direct action campaigns, a weekly radio broadcast and awards that honored prominent blacks to push its program out. Through Operation PUSH, Jackson established a platform from which to protect black homeowners, workers and businesses and keep inner-city youth in school while assisting them with job placement.
National Action Center
Founded in 1991 by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the National Action Network works in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes one standard of justice and decency for all people regardless of race, religion, national origin and gender. Sharpton is still justifiably controversial, but his group’s initiatives include campaigns in defense of critical entitlement programs, in support of sentencing reform and on behalf of death row inmates with questionable convictions.
Sometimes called the “Black MoveOn,” CoC’s mission is to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone. Current CoC campaigns call for the NRA to stop attacks on the First Family and for retail giant Walmart to put an end to unfair labor practices.
The American Association for Affirmative Action
This is the association of professionals managing affirmative action, equal opportunity and diversity programs, i.e., the people who actually implement the policies. Founded in 1974, the AAAA promotes understanding and advocacy of affirmative action to enhance access and equality in employment, economic and educational opportunities.
Equal Justice Society
A national strategy group, the Equal Justice Society is heightening consciousness on race in the law and popular discourse. As heirs of the innovative legal and political strategists of Brown v. Board of Education, the organization employs a three-prong strategy of law and public policy advocacy, cross-disciplinary convenings and strategic public communications, in an effort to restore race equity issues to the national consciousness, build effective progressive alliances, and advance the conversation on the positive role of government.
A broad-based anti-racism group, ARA has been on the front lines of the struggle against fascism and oppression for more than twenty years. ARA got its start in Minneapolis in 1988; since then, chapters have been established in dozens of communities in five countries and three continents.
Please use the comments field to let me know which groups I neglected.