The tony private member’s club, the Commerce Club, was the venue for an inauguration of sorts where influential religious leaders, attorneys, businesspeople and activists were designated as officers in the modern civil and human rights organization, MovementForward, Inc.
“This organization is taking the important work of the Civil Rights Movement and moving it forward. Forward into new generations and dimensions. Forward into a technological and digital age. Forward into shared ownership by all sectors of society. Forward out of traditional optics, descriptions, definitions and divisions that thwart cohesiveness around people’s shared values,” Rev. Markel Hutchins, 37, civil and human rights activist said in a press release. “Progress will happen only when people of good will of every race, ethnicity and faith perspective, and in every professional sector, have the courage to work cooperatively.”
The event was held on Thursday, April 9, 2015, the 47th anniversary of Dr. King’s funeral, as part of the formal launch of contemporary, interracial and multigenerational civil and human rights organization, MovementForward, Inc., which aims to provide innovative, inclusive, and solution-focused advocacy via another generation of change agents in the direct-action tradition of the Civil Rights Movement.
MovementForward Inc., “a modern collaborative for civil and human rights activism,” was formed in response to community outrage and divisive protests over the deaths of numerous unarmed African American men, including Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and with hopes to banish the question: “who are this generation’s civil rights leaders?”
According to co-founder Rev. Barrett Johnson, a former national officer of Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, “the continuing struggle for civil rights desperately needs something new, something fresh, something different than most traditional organizations have the capacity to provide.” Johnson added, “many recent ‘leaderless’ protests have been ineffective, profane and in contravention to the spirit of reverence and peace that permeated the Civil Rights Movement.”
“MovementForward has been created to provide effective, solution-focused space for another generation of leadership to emerge from all communities,” Hutchins explains from the podium at the Atlanta Press Club. “Dr. King said it best, what affects one directly, ultimately affects all of us indirectly. The nation looks to Atlanta for leadership on civil and human rights issues. Atlanta has played host to one of the most significant social movements of the 20th century — the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s. Atlanta is poised to be that yet again.”
MovementForward seeks to engage people of every race, class, sector and ideology in the continuing movement for social justice, peace, and equality for all and favors activism over anarchy and outrage. Hutchins adds, “Conversation triumphs over confrontation.”
“I’m excited about the One Church, One Precinct initiative we are undertaking. The purpose and goal is to find creative ways in which law enforcement agencies and faith communities can work together to one, shift some of the perspectives and ideas about law enforcement; second, find ways so we can build relationships so in the event of a crisis between law enforcement agencies and communities, we can develop effective and strategic plans to bring about change,” shares Rev. Dr. David Jackson, pastor of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church.
During the group’s organizing meeting on Feb. 15, 2015, civil rights icon and U.S. Rep. John Lewis declared, “It’s time for the next generation of servant leaders to step-up, step-in and get in the way [of injustice] the way we did.”