SCLC Hosting 55th Conference Where Trayvon Martin Was Killed in Florida

SCLC Hosting 55th Conference Where Trayvon Martin Was Killed in Florida
Dr. Charles Steele, who will again be appointed CEO of the 57-year-old organization

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is hosting its 55th annual conference in Lake Mary and Sanford, Fla., the region near Orlando where George Zimmerman confessed to killing Trayvon Martin.

Highlighting the annual convention will be a rally and march on Saturday, July 21 at 10 a.m. from a local church to the old Sanford courthouse where the organization will demand justice for the slain teenager Martin and other victims of unlawful violence.

“We are very excited to have our conference this year in Florida,” said Art Rocker, chairman of the Florida SCLC State Unit. “Florida had the infrastructure for the conference, as we have some chapters that are very active here. Also, in light of the Trayvon Martin issue, we want to shape a discussion around the outcome of the case dealing with George Zimmerman, the man responsible for Trayvon’s untimely death.”

Among other highlights:

  • The SCLC will officially install Dr. Charles Steel Jr. as the CEO of the organization founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1957. Steele, who served as the group’s leader from 2004 to 2009, will again assume the role of CEO in an effort to “restore the financial stability and credibility of the SCLC,” officials said.
  • he group will also focus on voter registration around the upcoming election, where President Barack Obama seeks re-election against the GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
  • The SCLC will focus on environmental issues, aimed at preventing losses that have occurred with disenfranchised people in the Gulf Coast region as a result of the BP oil spill.
“[Dr. Steele] has the credibility that we need now,” said the Rev. Samuel F. Mosteller, president of the SCLC’s Georgia chapter. “He is well-known and respected in the corporate arena and is recognized on a national level.”

The former Alabama state senator is widely credited with building SCLC’s $3.3 million headquarters on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, boosting membership and leading the organization back to solid financial footing during his five-year term. In just 3 years, he managed to raise $21 million, Rocker said. However, after he left, poor management by the board sunk the group in the mud with a $250,000 lien placed on the headquarters.

“I am optimistic and very much looking forward to the conference; especially given my history with the SCLC,” Dr. Steele said. “But overall, my main concern is economic development and the lack of African American participation in all aspects of economic development in this country and the world. It is all about raising money and entrepreneurship. That is my main priority.”

— terry shropshire

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