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WASHINGTON – Two of the last three remaining presidential candidates – former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders – have agreed to participate in a forum in Gary, Ind. and submit to questions of particular importance to African Americans. An invitation to Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has been extended and he is expected to attend.
The presidential forum is part of the National Black Political Convention, which will return to Gary, Ind. June 9-12, more than 40 years after the historic 1972 gathering.
This year’s convention is being co-convened by former Gary Mayor Richard G. Hatcher, one of the original conveners of the 1972 convention; Tuskegee, Ala. Mayor Johnny Ford, who was founding chair of the World Conference of Mayors and founding co-chair of the National Policy Alliance; Gary, Ind. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; Newark Mayor Ras Baraka; Roy Charles Brooks, Commission Tarrant County, Texas; Webster Guillory, Founding co-chair of the National Policy Alliance; and Thelma Moore, former chair of the National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO).
The presidential forum, scheduled for Saturday, June 11, will be moderated by George E. Curry, editor-in-chief of EmergeNewsOnline.com. He will be joined in the questioning of candidates by Chinta Strausberg, a reporter for the Chicago and Gary Crusader Newspapers, and Webster Guillory, retired tax assessor of Orange County, Calif.
“The 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary was the kickoff to what became the powerful Black political revolution, which led to the election of more Black political leaders than had been elected in the United States since Reconstruction,” the organizers said in a statement. “Now is the time for Black America to return to Gary, convene a second National Black Political Convention; recharge our batteries; develop a Black agenda, and announce it to the world, and leave Gary prepared to implement that agenda.”
That agenda will be developed at next month’s convention, which will be held at the Genesis Convention Center. Positions are expected be taken on such issues as education, justice, energy, voting rights, gun control, health, environment, economic opportunity and the treatment of Black veterans.
In addition to Saturday’s presidential candidates forum, on Friday there will be an intergenerational Town Hall discussion.
The first convention had as its theme, “Black Politics at the Crossroads.” The agenda included:
- Home rule for Washington, D.C.
- Establish a national network of community health centers
- Establish a system of national health insurance
- Elimination of capital punishment
- Create a new urban-based homestead act
- Government guarantee of $5,200 income for a family of four
- Minimum wage guarantee of $2.50
- Establish a Black United Fund
- Effective enforcement of anti-trust legislation
To register for convention and obtain more information on this year’s convention, go to theNBPC.com.
Conveners of this year’s convention said, “We must set our agenda as Black Americans, and be able to say to both the Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention, ‘We in Black America have set our agenda and if you want our vote and support, then you must consider the Black agenda…'”
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