Volume 9 Numbers 2-3PRESIDENT CLINTON ANNOUNCES RACE INITIATIVE
"In the end, more than anything else, our world leadership grows out of the power of our example here at home, out of our ability to remain strong as one America...We are the world's most diverse democracy, and the world looks to us to show that it i s possible to live and advance together across those kinds of differences...Building one America is our most important mission...money cannot buy it. Power cannot compel it. Technology cannot create it. It can only come from the human spirit."
President Clinton, February 4, 1997
On June 12, 1997, in announcing a new Race Initiative, the President made reference to his experience of growing up in the South, witnessing the great harm of racial discrimination, and his life-long commitment to racial equality. That commitment, he said inspired him to make this initiative on race one of the major priorities of his second term.
The Initiative has five major goals:
1. To articulate the President's vision of racial reconciliation and a just, unified America;
2. To help educate the nation about the facts surrounding the issue of race;
3. To promote a constructive dialogue, to confront and work through the difficult and controversial issues surrounding race;
4. To recruit and encourage leadership at all levels to help bridge racial divides;
5. To find, develop and implement solutions in critical areas such as education, economic opportunity, housing, health care, crime and the administration of justice -- for individuals, communities, corporations, and government at all levels.
The goals are to be achieved through Presidential leadership, dialogue, study and action. Next summer the President will present a report to the American people that presents his vision of One America, discusses the growing diversity of our nation; re flects the work that has occurred during the year including conversations and suggestions at town hall meetings and other venues; reports on how the issue of race has evolved during the last 30 years; and provides recommendations and solutions that enable individuals, communities, businesses, organizations and government to address difficult issues and build on our best possibilities.
President Clinton also announced the appointment of a seven member advisory board for his initiative on race, "One America in the 21st Century: The President's Initiative on Race." The advisory board is to counsel the President in his effort s "to promote a national dialogue on controversial issues surrounding race; to increase our understanding of the history of race relations and the common future people of all races share; to recruit leadership at all levels to help bridge racial divi des; and to propose actions to address critical areas such as education, economic opportunity, housing, health care, crime and the administration of justice."
The advisory board members are:
John Hope Franklin, Chair, eminent historian and educator who most recently served as Professor of Legal History at Duke University Law School from 1982 to 1992. His writings include the 1946 landmark study From Slavery to Freedom.
William F. Winter, former Democratic Governor of Mississippi and currently in private law practice. While Governor, he fought for education reform, civil rights and better relations between the races.
Linda Chavez-Thompson, Executive Vice-President with the AFL-CIO. She joined the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees in 1971 and became the first person of color to be elected to executive office at the AFL-CIO.
Robert Thomas, currently serves as President and CEO of Nissan Motor Corporation, USA. He recently created a partnership with the Los Angeles Urban League to increase opportunities for women and minorities in automobile manufacturing.
Angela E. Oh, an attorney in private law practice in Los Angeles. Following the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, she served as Special Counsel to the Assembly Special Committee on the Los Angeles Crisis.
Suzan D. Johnson Cook, Senior Pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship. She is also the first female chaplain of the New York City Police Department. From 1993-1994, she was a White House Fellow working for the White House Domestic Policy Coun cil.
Thomas H. Kean, former Republican Governor of New Jersey. He serves as President of Drew University in New Jersey, and served on the United States Delegation to Women's Rights Conference in Beijing in 1995.
Christopher Edley will serve as a consultant to the Advisory Board and Judith Winston will serve as its Director. Mr. Edley teaches law at Harvard Law School and is co-director of The Civil Rights Project, a recently launched think tank based at Harv ard. He served as Special Counsel to President Clinton and directed the Administration's review of affirmative action. Ms. Winston was most recently General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to that she taught law at American Universi ty, and worked for the Women's Legal Defense Fund and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law.