FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2017
In Response to Tensions in St. Louis, SCLC Leader Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., Advocates Inter-Generational and Multi-Racial Meeting of Social Justice Leaders
Young Advocates to Learn Effective Methods of Non-Violent Protest
ATLANTA – Dr. Charles Steele, Jr., President and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), is urging leaders of social justice and civil rights groups – from young activists to established figures – to meet and develop a unified, non-violent approach to protesting the killings of people of color by police.
He issued his call for a meeting on Sept. 17 – during another bout of civil unrest in St. Louis, Missouri. This is the second time in the last three years that protests have paralyzed that metropolitan area, following the death of a black man at the hands of a white police officer.
“I say, ‘Let’s collaborate,’ ”Dr. Steele said, adding that it is important for the gathering to include representatives from across the generations and races.
He wants a formal meeting to be held within a month to exchange ideas, strategize solutions, and recommit all social justice and civil rights activists to non-violent demonstrations.
In 2014, protestors and police clashed violently after 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, just outside the city of St. Louis. A movement emerged from those protests, with activists calling for a change in how police treat people of color.
Protests erupted and tensions escalated in St. Louis again this past weekend, following the acquittal of a former police officer, Jason Stockley, in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, 24. -MORE-
Though Mr. Smith was killed in 2011, the trial against Mr. Stockley was not held until this year, and a not-guilty verdict was just rendered Sept. 15.
A meeting among older, established civil rights leaders and today’s young activists can be effective in devising ways to de-escalate tensions in communities where distrust of police may run high. Dr. Steele worries that continuing unrest may not only make additional gains in civil rights impossible to achieve, but could also erode decades of progress.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the 1950s, and was its first president. The organization has continued supporting social justice causes and people from marginalized communities. It remains committed to King’s principles of non-violent protest, and offers training in peaceful protest techniques.
For more information about Dr. Steele, or the SCLC, visit www.nationalsclc.org. To schedule an interview with Dr. Steele, contact Jerry Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org, (312) 285-5166, or Maynard Eaton at email@example.com, (404)-254-8322.
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ABOUT THE SCLC: Established in 1957, the SCLC, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is a now an international organization made up of chapters and affiliates with programs that affect the lives of all Americans: north, south, east, and west. Its sphere of influence and interests has become international in scope because the human rights movement transcends national boundaries.