NAACP holds Religious Leaders Summit in Atlanta

The NAACP recently held a three-day National Religious Leaders Summit in Atlanta.
The goal of the meeting was “to help move the faith community back to its long-held leadership role in matters of social justice,” according to Joi Ridley, NAACP spokeswoman. “The religious community has been the backbone of the NAACP in its first 100 years, and that partnership will continue in our second century,” stated Roslyn M. Brock, NAACP chairman.
Brock said the meetings were designed to encourage “engaging faith leaders in discussion around the five Game Changer areas that will guide our social justice agenda for years to come.”
This year’s summit, themed “Moving Us Forward on the Roads to Justice,” included a wide variety of faith traditions and congregations, representing more than 20 million congregants across the country. Speakers include Rev. Roslyn M. Brock, chairman, NAACP Board of Directors; Bishop Dennis Proctor, president, Bishops Council, AME Zion Church; Bishop William Graves, CME Church; Dr. Julius R. Scruggs, president, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.; Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore, president, Progressive National Baptist Convention; Dr. Stephen Thurston, president, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.; Rev. Patricia B. Maples, president, National Convocation of the Christian Church; James H. Salley, Black Methodists for Church Renewal; Dr. Mohamed Elsansousi, Islamic Society of North America; Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism; Elder Bernard C. Yates, president, Primitive National Baptist Convention, USA; Rev. Nelson B. Rivers II, NAACP vice president for stakeholder relations; and John Miller, CEO of Denny’s corporation.
NAACP leaders convened working sessions with religious leaders from diverse ethnic and faith backgrounds, including Christian, Jewish, and Islamic communities nationwide. Discussions highlighted the importance of religious leadership in HIV/AIDS outreach and a post-election political agenda for communities of faith.

In addition, the leaders discussed the NAACP’s five “Game Changers,” the policy areas that the 103-year-old organization intends to pursue in the decades ahead, and developed a strategy to build upon the civic engagement work created in the lead up to the 2012 elections.

On Dec. 11, the NAACP presented its Civil Rights Leadership Award to Rev. Joseph E. Lowery for his decades of work fighting for justice through preaching and living the social justice gospel. An icon of the civil rights movement, Lowery served as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference from 1977-1997.

“The NAACP has always been guided by the faith of our members and local leaders,” Rivers said. “That faith has helped us stand steady against impossible odds throughout our history. The Religious Leaders Summit is a time to honor the roll that faith will continue to play in our work in the years ahead.”

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