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Reverend Al Sharpton was the first of three speakers (after being introduced by NAACP National Board Member Clayola Brown) at this afternoon’s press conference at the NAACP National Convention in Kansas City.

Clayola Brown: Good afternoon everyone. Good afternoon everyone. [voices: “Good afternoon.”] We wanted to take this opportunity to address the media before the economic justice forum to talk with you a little bit about the One Nation movement. On October the second, the ten-two-ten, we will be marching on Washington with some of the leaders you see here, Reverend Sharpton, Reverend Jackson, as well as other leaders throughout labor, civil rights and the community to demand the changes that we voted for. Civil rights are under attack in this country and even Glenn Beck is holding a rally on eight twenty-eight, which is the anniversary date of Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic March on Washington. And this is certainly not what this country needs right now. It is my pleasure this afternoon to introduce to the mic first, Reverend Al Sharpton, a renowned leader across this country who really needs no introduction whatsoever. Reverend Sharpton…

Reverend Al Sharpton and Clayola Brown.

….Reverend Al Sharpton: Thank you Miss Brown. I come as President of the National Action Network to join others in pledging our support for the march of labor and others joining us on the second of October in Washington. And also there’ll be a big gathering on the twenty-eighth of August, the date that Miss Brown just referred to. Uh, forty-seven years ago there was a march in Washington for jobs and justice, and which Martin Luther King made one of the addresses that became known as the famous “I Have a Dream” speech. It is an absolute outrage that Glenn Beck and the tea parties are coming to Washington on that day, claiming to restore dignity. It is not about race. It is about their belief in government that is so [inaudible].  The idea of the civil rights movement is to get a strong federal government to protect the people against state’s rights that has been those that kept people down based on going by state to state laws. The tea partiers are a state’s rights philosophical group. The cannot march in the name of Dr. King’s dream, which was totally antithetical to their idea of government. So Martin Luther King the third and Marc Morial of the National Urban League and [inaudible] and others will be joining us on the twenty-eighth in Washington. We will not be marching were Beck is. We will be at Dunbar High School and go to the site where Dr. Martin Luther King monument will be unveiled next year, the last monument on the Potomac. We’re not going to react to Beck. We’re going to raise what the real dream was on the anniversary of the dream. The dream was about jobs, the dream was about economic justice, the dream was about making sure that states could not interfere with the rights of labor, the rights of women and the rights of people. You cannot have people who are now trying to have tea party for state’s rights coming and celebrating the day that asked the federal government to overrule where states were segregating and allowing segregation to go forward. There clearly is some racial leaves in their tea bag, but this is not just about race. This is about how you see government. And those of us that see government the way that Dr. King and Roy Wilkins and Dorothy Height saw it will be in Washington to raise the right banner on the twenty-eighth of August and be there in mass with everyone, One Nation, on the second of October. I close by reminding you, if you read the whole speech of Dr. King, Dr. King said that America had given the negro a check that had bounced in the bank and it was returned insufficient funds. Uh, I submit that that check has been written again with an African-American president, this time the bank bounced, ’cause there’s no money. So we really need to press for jobs, we need to press for jobs, economic equity and we cannot return back to states deciding on immigration, states deciding on labor. That’s why we’re going to Washington on twenty-eight, that’s why we’ll be there in mass on the second. We see from Arizona, we see from the tea parties, they’re trying to bring us back to pre King days. While they talk about restoring dignity they’re really talking about restoring a time before the federal government intervened and protected the rights of people. Again, this is not about race, this is about how you see the role of government and how Beck and that crowd sees it is the opposite of why they marched in nineteen sixty-three….


The 101st NAACP National Convention in Kansas City

NAACP in Kansas City: Benjamin Todd Jealous at the opening press conference

NAACP in Kansas City: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson at the opening press conference

NAACP in Kansas City: Sunday – photos

NAACP in Kansas City: Michelle Obama – photos

NAACP in Kansas City: Representative Sheila Jackson Lee on the tea party and human rights

NAACP in Kansas City: Senator Claire McCaskill (D) – “Now is no time to quit.”

NAACP in Kansas City: Representative Emanuel Cleaver – “Don’t you forget it!”

NAACP in Kansas City: Wednesday afternoon press conference – photos