In April 2013, National Stop the Violence Alliance, Inc. will be hosting their first annual women’s conference. “Behold! The Power of Woman” is our theme and I am very excited! Womanhood is an indispensable trait that our global community often takes advantage of. This conference will be a way to honor the strides that women have taken to further our domestic and international achievements, as well as raise awareness about the current issues that women (and even men) face.
However, I believe that one of the organization’s biggest motivations this year is celebrating the life of our civil rights leaders. Every child in America, and even abroad, are extremely familiar with names such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While it is important to celebrate the lives of those who have paved the way for equality either through abolitionism or nonviolent resistance, there are so many others who have assisted in creating a more tolerant world. Hence why our organization is honoring the life and legacy of Congressman John Lewis and the late Rosa Parks. In 2011, we honored another unsung hero, the late Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy.
So many people have a confused look on their face when asked, “Do you know who John Lewis is?” A silent and unsung hero, Congressman Lewis has been on the front lines, battling oppression and inequality. He is the only living speaker from the March on Washington who was present on the stage during the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Congressman Lewis was the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which during his tenure he opened Freedom Schools and launched the Mississippi Freedom Fund. Among his other accolades include his being one of the original 13 Freedom Riders and his pivotal role in the Selma to Montgomery marches. We are so honored to be presenting Congressman Lewis with a much deserved bust! We thank him for his many contributions.
We are also honoring the life and legacy of the late Rosa Parks, the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. She was such a trailblazer, having lit the match that sparked so much change. The fire that she ignited still burns. Her organization, the Raymond and Rosa Parks Institute for Self-Development, also holds a special place in our organization. Sescily Coney, President and Director, has been active in their organization since the age of 10. She was a part of their “Pathways to Freedom” program and as a proud alum, she still assists and is actively involved. She believed in the mission of the organization and in the eternal memory of Mrs. Parks, even being a pallbearer during her homegoing services. We are so honored to be unveiling a bust for Mrs. Parks and to have representatives of the Institution that will be present. Mrs. Anita Peeks, Mrs. Elaine Steel, and many others, we look forward to hosting you.