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Nov 16, 2007

Black Leader Put Their Money Where There Mouth Is

UNITY: The Black Campaign launches Unity Circle house parties to establish Black donor base

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) is once again, Claiming the Victory, after a successful fundraiser held recently at the New York home of Essence magazine’s editorial director, Susan L. Taylor. With a guest list that reads like a who’s who list of African American powerbrokers, the event launched a series of Unity Circle house parties to raise money for [UNITY: THE BLACK CAMPAIGN], an initiative of the nation’s most prominent organizations focused on increasing civic participation and protecting voters rights.

“Creating a strong Black donor circle promotes self-empowerment,” says Melanie L. Campbell, executive director and CEO of the NCBCP. “If candidates like Barak Obama and Ron Paul can raise millions from small donors to support a run for office, we are confident that citizens will donate to a campaign designed to empower their own community.”

Members of the coalition said it was important to start their grassroots fundraising campaign at home. Executives from several of the participating organizations dug deep into their own pockets to personally contribute to the effort. Among the 60-plus crowd attending the event were: Reggie Van Lee, Booz Allen Hamilton; Clayola Brown, A. Phillip Randolph Insititute; R. Donahue Peebles, The Peebles Corporation; Morris Reid, Westin Rinehart Group; Terrie Williams, The Terrie Williams Agency; and NY Jets defensive end, Bryan Thomas. National Urban League president and CEO, Marc Morial and his wife, journalist Michelle Miller, also attended the event.

Commending Campbell for her tenacity in spearheading the Unity Campaign over the past ten years, William (Bill) Lucy, president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists said, “The Unity Campaign has blossomed into a major force in the election cycle. The campaign’s impact on the ’04 and ’06 elections demonstrated the effect we can have on turnout by uniting for the larger cause. The Black Campaign has my full support.”

Since introducing the Unity Campaign in 1998, the initiative has grown to include over 150 of the nation’s most prestigious organizations banding together to register, educate, inform, and galvanize voters. The campaign is credited with contributing to the historic turnout among black youth in the 2004 presidential election.

Framers of the campaign say the concept is simple. “By meeting people where they frequent – from the church house to entertainment venues – we are able to keep the message to vote early and often on the hearts and minds of the community,” says Thomas W. Dortch, president, National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.

For instance, Black Voter Empowerment Sunday’s is a nationwide effort organizing a ministry of civic participation. The coalition supplies churches with literature to help focus the attention of congregants on the call to register and vote in the service of their community and urges congregations discuss the historic relevance of voting and protecting the right to vote.

Also, partnering with well-established, family –focused events like UniverSoul Circus ensures that audiences of all ages are informed of the connection between voting and everyday life. Circus producers integrate civic engagement messages into the show in a language their audiences understand and appreciate.

“Alliances formed over the years provides access to just about every Black household in America,” says Campbell. “We are activating all of our networks to create a community movement urging people of color to maximize their power and influence at the polls so we can claim our victory.”

UNITY: THE BLACK CAMPAIGN, is an alliance of Black leaders from The National Urban League, 100 Black Men Of America, Thomas W. Dortch, Inc., The National Council Of Negro Women, Black Youth Vote!, The A. Philip Randolph Institute, and the Council of Presidents-Devine 9, among others.

To join the campaign, request additional information, sign up a church, or to donate call the NCBCP at (202) 659-4929 or Black Campaign.

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation | 1300 L. Street NW, 2nd Floor, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005, USA.

Phone: (202) 659-4929 |

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