JP Forum: 80 Years of Progressive Organizing with the Highlander Center

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 Jamaica Plain  See map

Celebrating 80 Years of Civil Rights with the Highlander Center
Sunday September 9, 2012, 4:30 PM

First Church Jamaica Plain, 6 Eliot St (map)
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The Highlander Center was training ground for many of the social change movements of the 20th century, including for Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. Come join us in celebrating 80 years of progressive organizing with Civil Rights leader Hollis Watkins and Highlander Center Director Pam McMichael!

The Highlander Research and Education Center (http://highlandercenter.org/) is celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year as a world renowned beacon of progressive organizing. Known for bringing people together to learn from each other, Highlander is widely acclaimed as a leadership development center for grassroots activists across race and generations, and as a critical resource for the social and economic justice community.

Since its founding in 1932, Highlander has been on the cutting edge of social and economic justice organizing in the South. In the early years, Highlander served as a training center for working people organizing labor unions, and in the 1950s and 60s, Highlander played a vital role in the Civil Rights Movement. In the 70s, ’80s, and ’90s, Highlander was key in fostering organizing in Appalachia on worker health & safety and environmental issues. Today, Highlander continues the work, supporting organizing and leadership development among immigrants and young people, encouraging the use of culture to enhance social justice efforts, and helping people and organizations in diverse constituencies develop new strategies and alliances.

Hollis Watkins is the co-founder and president of Southern Echo and has more than 50 years of human/civil rights work experience. He is the youngest of 12 children born of sharecroppers from rural Mississippi and was the first Mississippi student involved in 1961 in the Mississippi Voting Rights Project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He in on the board of the Southern Sustainable Agricultural Working Group and is a founder and member of the Civil Rights Veterans of Mississippi. Mr. Watkins is board member emeritus of Highlander where his relationship with the institution began in the early 60s. (photo source: http://southernecho.org)

Pam McMichael is Director of the Highlander Center, first becoming associated with Highlander as a long-time activist and organizer in Louisville, Kentucky. For decades now, Pam’s organizing and cultural work have connected people and issues across divides of race, class, gender and sexuality with focus on helping build a strong racially just movement. She has co-founded local, state and regional organizations with this core strategy, and was a national fellow with a Rockefeller Foundation leadership project to address the growing crisis in U.S. democracy.


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