By Alice Thomas-Tisdale
JA Publisher Emerita
Of the “Big Five” civil rights organizations, only one fell victim in the fight for human decency — The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). However, its contributions to the civil rights movement is well documented. Those that remain are the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Urban League (NUL), and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which reintroduced its Rules for Action in 2021 amid rampant racial violence and attacks on democracy.
The manifesto describes, in full detail, CORE’s commitment to direct action through nonviolence, which it has long advocated as the most effective means to combat inequality by bridging the gap between America’s powerful promise and brutal reality.
According to CORE’s national spokesperson, Niger Roy Innis, the 13-point program remains as relevant and necessary in charting a path forward for the country today as it was in 1963 when it first stated that nonviolence has been shown to be a powerful social force.
“The CORE Rules for Action was and has continued to be an essential guide for our organization. It sets rules and responsibilities for those who seek to fight injustice under our banner,” says Innis, son of the late Roy Innis, longtime national chair of CORE.
On the issue of social inequality, SCLC President, Dr. Charles Steele Jr., commented, “I believe that this country must make ending poverty a priority on the national agenda. We can end poverty in the United States for all Americans, but only through the action of government, not inaction as we have seen it. Government will only act, if we form a collective, to force it to.”
The National Urban League is the leading civil rights organization charged with righting the wrongs of financial stability within the African American community. Speaking before a Senate hearing on financial banking institutions, NUL President Marc Morial testified, “When people of color suffer racist engagement in the financial marketplace, it causes substantial monetary and non-monetary harm.
“Depending on how the racist behavior occurs, be it systematic, digital, in-person, community members often are unaware they received disparate treatment or a discriminatory outcome.
“This stems from a centuries-long strain of the Black and minority community with banking institutions.”
The NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, spends each day keeping its promise to squash racism and injustice at home and abroad. President/CEO Derrick Johnson recently stated, “As we watch the humanitarian crisis unfold in the Middle East, the NAACP recognizes the effects felt around the rest of the world. We know that hate anywhere is a threat to safety everywhere. Black America has and will continue to stand in solidarity with the communities grieving innumerable loss, both in the Middle East and right here in the United States.
“Enough is enough. The violence must stop. The NAACP urges our global leaders to reach an agreement that respects all people’s right to peace and security. We will not stop fighting for a world where we are all able to live free from the evils of hatred and violence.”