WASHINGTON — Seeking to bridge the generations of civil rights activists, President Barack Obama on Thursday will meet with a group of leaders before a Black History Month reception — including Aislinn Pulley, the co-founder and lead organizer with Black Lives Matter Chicago.
The White House is billing this as a “first of its kind” because of the intergenerational approach. When he was running for office in 2007, Obama delivered a speech in Selma, Alabama, where he talked about the civil rights leaders on whose shoulders he stood.
From the pulpit of the historic Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church, he talked about the job of the “Joshua generation” and his own claim to a place in the civil rights movement.
“So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don’t tell me I’m not coming home to Selma, Alabama,” Obama said.
In the final months of his presidency, Obama has been focusing on a variety of civil rights related matters: police, prisons and other criminal justice reforms.
He will leave office with much of that work unfinished, and he is expected to make this package of issues part his post-presidency agenda.
According to the White House, on Thursday the group will “discuss a range of issues, including the Administration’s efforts on criminal justice reform, building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve and the President’s priorities during his final year in office.”
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch will attend as well as:
• Aislinn Pulley, co-founder and lead organizer with Black Lives Matter Chicago
• Al Sharpton, founder and president of the National Action Network
• Ben Crump, president of the National Bar Association
• Brittany Packnett, member of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, co-founder of We The Protestors and Campaign Zero
• C.T. Vivian, civil rights leader and author
• Carlos Clanton, president of the National Urban League Young Professionals
• Cornell Brooks, oresident of the NAACP
• Deray McKesson, co-founder of We the Protestors and Campaign Zero
• Deshaunya Ware, student leader of Concerned Student 1950 at University of Missouri
• U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
• Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League
• Mary Patricia Hector, national youth director of the National Action Network
• Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
• Rashad Robinson, executive director of Color of Change
• Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
• Stephen Green, national director of the NAACP Youth and College Division
• Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
BELOW, FROM THE WHITE HOUSE . . .
Black History Month Activities
“During the final Black History Month of the Obama Administration, the White House has hosted a number of events for stakeholders and the public to honor the contributions that African Americans have made to our nation. Earlier this month, the First Lady hosted a celebration of dance with noted African American dancers from different genres. Last week, the White House Council on Women and Girls hosted an event to highlight the efforts of individuals and organizations to get women and girls of color involved in STEM. Later this month, the Office of Public Engagement will host a screening of the upcoming WGN America television series Underground.”
John Legend, the singer who is one of the executive producers of the series; actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell and actor Christopher Meloni will be attending the screening. “There will also be an event to highlight the accomplishments of alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including producer and director Will Packer.”