ON THE ACTUAL BIRTHDAY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK (NAN) HELD ITS ANNUAL KING DAY LUNCHEON IN WASHINGTON, DC, FEATURING SPEECHES BY REV. AL SHARPTON, MARTIN LUTHER KING, III, AND CABINET MEMBERS INCLUDING SECRETARY OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, EDUCATION SECRETARY ARNE DUNCAN & OTHERS
IN NEW YORK, NAN HELD THE FIRST COMMUNITY MAYORAL DEBATE MODERATED BY REV. AL SHARPTON FEATURING MAJOR CANDIDATES ON DIVERSITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
New York, NY (January 17, 2013)–On the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., National Action Network (NAN) held its annual King Day Luncheon in Washington, DC, honoring leaders that embody the vision of Dr. King. There were special remarks by Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King, III, Cabinet members and other national leaders. Among the themes were economic empowerment, anti-violence, education and health/wellness. NAN’s King Day luncheon included a special address by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius regarding the health policies of the Administration and remarks by the United States Education Secretary about Dr. King. This year’s event was co-hosted NAN’s sister organization Education for a Better America (EBA) and announced NAN’s partnership on a health initiative that will focus on health education with health and wellness components.
Among the honorees at the King Day luncheon were Glenn H. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Silver Lake, and recipient of the “Breaking Barriers Award;” Arlene Holt Baker, Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO, and recipient of the “Economic Justice Award;” Rosalind G. Brewer, President & CEO, Sam’s Clubs, and recipient of the “MLK Day Merit Award;” and Bruce S. Gordon, Former National President, NAACP, and recipient of the MLK Lifetime Service Award.
Each of the honorees have made significant contributions to the betterment of social justice and civil rights, including Glenn Hutchins who currently serves as Chairman of Harvard University’s W.E.B DuBois Institute, the nation’s oldest research center dedicated to the study of the history, culture, and social institutions of Africans and African Americans. In 2005, Mr. Hutchins’ support of the African American Studies program at Harvard University was acknowledged by his receipt of the DuBois Medal, awarded to him by the Institute’s Director, Professor Henry Louis Gates. As an owner and member of the Executive Committee of the Boston Celtics basketball team, Mr. Hutchins is also active in the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, which partners with New England-based non-profit organizations to provide support to children in need.
Arlene Holt Baker, the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO has shown outstanding leadership through her commitment to activism on behalf of working families. She became the first African American in the Federation’s history to serve as an officer. She has been an active coalition-member of national civil rights and labor leaders and hopes to inspire a new generation of union activism.
Rosalind G. Brewer is president and CEO of Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Walmart). She is the first woman and first African-American to lead a business unit of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer. She was most recently President of the Wal-Mart U.S. East business unit, and was responsible for 1,600 stores spanning from Maine to Puerto Rico.
Bruce S. Gordon served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from August 2005 to March 2007, where he led the organization to milestone achievements in civil rights including the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Campaign and the extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
In New York City on the evening of Dr. King’s birthday, NAN held the first community New York City Mayoral Candidate Debate and annual King Day Public Policy Forum attended by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and leading elected officials in New York state politics including Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller John Liu, Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and more, who addressed the community about key issues including, gun control, “Stop and Frisk” policing, education, economic justice and other important issues.
NAN is dedicated to a modern civil rights agenda, which includes education, criminal justice, gun violence prevention, healthcare and standard of decency for all people. Education for a Better America is an educational nonprofit that focuses on building bridges between policymakers and the classrooms by supporting innovations in the delivery of education; creating a dialogue between policymakers, community leaders, educators, parents, and students; and disseminating information and findings that will positively impact our students and schools.
On this day in particular, NAN and EBA encourage elected officials, community activists, clergy and leaders across the country to pause and remember the example of Dr. King and the importance of his work. The annual King Day event not only celebrates Dr. King’s legacy, but provides an opportunity to refocus on the work each of us does to carry on his dream.
NAN is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the nation. NAN works extensively to promote a standard of decency for all people regardless of race or sex, social justice for all communities, and improvements in race relations. Through the years, NAN has served as a megaphone for the voiceless and an advocate for those in need.
For media inquiries: Rachel Noerdlinger (firstname.lastname@example.org)