On March 15 from 7-9 p.m., the Measuring the Dream Symposium will pull together prominent community leaders including: Former UN Ambassador & two time Mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young and Former Freedom Rider Dr. Bernard Lafayette to review research data and discuss how far we’ve come since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech and how far we have to go. The free event will also feature GA Representative Park Conner, the youngest and 1 of 3 openly gay lawmakers in Atlanta as well as the Co-director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), a liberation movement for People of Color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities. The event take place at the First Congregational Church, and the symposium coincides with the Church’s 150th anniversary.
On August 28,1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood before a crowd of 250,000 people at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and declared that all Americans should be treated equally. He went on to champion legislation that reduced both racial and economic disparities for Blacks and Whites alike. But now, more than ever, the country’s economic and racial divides are incredibly pronounced. Recent years have seen the rise of activist groups and events like Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March. Yet, some of the most critical political issues like affordable housing, quality public education, and LGBTQ rights—all concerns of disenfranchised groups—still persist.
Measuring the Dream’s panelists are a group of influential community leaders who have firsthand experience with the struggle for civil rights, past and present. They will address a group of roughly 500 attendees on a variety of topics including: equity in education, health, and criminal justice. The free public event aims to use thorough research and analysis to identify the issues that impede equality and map out a way forward. While the event is open to the public, attendees are asked to register through Eventbrite or on the website at http://www.measuringthedream.com
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
Ambassador Andrew Young
Ambassador Young was an aid for Dr. King and first came to Atlanta with his wife, Jean in 1961. To work with Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and joined the First Congregational Church, where he has remained a member for over 57 years. Thus, the Measuring the Dream symposium brings things full circle.
Following his service to the Civil rights Movement, Ambassador Young was elected to represent Georgia in the U.S. Congress- the first black elected from the Deep South since Reconstruction. President Jimmy carter appointed him to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and he served two terms as mayor of Atlanta, then, Co-Chair of the Atlanta Olympic Games, bringing the Centennial Olympics Games to the city in 1996. As Chair of the Andrew Young Foundation, he continues to be active, globally as an author, film maker, public speaker and humanitarian.
Bernard Lafayette was also a direct associate of Dr. King during the SCLC. He played a leading role in early organizing of the Selma Voting Rights Movement and went on to cofound the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), coordinate the Poor People’s Campaign, lead several Nashville lunch counter sit-ins, and worked as a Freedom Rider.
Lafayette has been recognized as a major authority on strategies for nonviolent social change. He is also recognized as one of the leading exponents of nonviolent direct action in the world.
He was a Senior Fellow at the University of Rhode Island, where he helped to found the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies. He is a Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the Candler School of Theology, at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
Representative Park Cannon
Park Cannon is the youngest member of the Georgia House of Representatives. She is excited to represent Midtown, Downtown, and Southwest Atlanta. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Representative Cannon said “We need to trust black women!” and will continue to stand up for LGBTQ and minority visibility in the South. Park serves on the Executive Committee of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, the nation’s largest state black caucus as the the Chair of the Civil and Human Rights Committee as well as the Co-Chair of Communications. She serves on Insurance and Small Business Development House Committees, City of Atlanta Delegation, Fulton County Delegation, Bi-partisan Future Caucus and is the secretary for the Women’s Caucus.
Mary Hooks is the co-director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG). SONG is a regional Queer Liberation organization that serves as a Southern refuge for LGBTQ people, people of color, differently abled people, undocumented and documented immigrants, and working-class people.
ABOUT THE FOUNDERS/HOSTS
(For interview availability call Joelle Allen 952-220-9939)
Andrea Young, J.D.
Andrea Young is the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. She is an author and adjunct professor at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and was the founding executive director of the Andrew J. Young Foundation, where she worked to preserve Ambassador Young’s legacy. Additionally, she served as a legislative assistant to Senator Edward Kennedy and other roles promoting civil and human rights. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to national and international civil rights policies.
Nisha Botchwey, Ph.D., MCRP, MPH
Dr. Nisha Botchwey currently serves as an Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She previously spent eight years as a professor at the University of Virginia, in both the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and the Department of Public Health Sciences. She currently serves on the CDC’s Advisory Board to the Director and as co-Director of the National Academy of Environmental Design’s Research Committee. Botchwey is also the recipient of numerous professional distinctions such as the NSF ADVANCE Woman of Excellence Faculty Award and Georgia Tech’s Hesburgh Award Teaching Fellowship.