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ALBC Town Halls - Atlanta




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Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Joins Atlanta Leaders to Convene Town Hall on “Unfinished Work: Race, Civility and Equality of Opportunity”
Town Hall Event to Commemorate Lincoln Bicentennial, Explore the Impact of Race on the Atlanta Region


ATLANTA – The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the Georgia Humanities Council, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights and over 20 other Atlanta organizations will host a gathering of leaders from various sectors of society—from civic and media to academia and civil rights—to discuss race, civility and equality of opportunity during two high profile events during the month of December.

The Atlanta town hall events will be composed of a leadership forum on December 2, 2009, at Morehouse College, and a conversation with the general public on December 9, 2009, at the Cecil B. Day Chapel at The Carter Center. The town hall is part of a weeklong celebration of the declaration of human rights sponsored by the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

“We are looking forward to bringing the celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s life and legacy to Atlanta, a city that has been at the center of our ongoing, national dialogue about race, equality of opportunity and civil rights,” said Eileen Mackevich, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. “Abraham Lincoln inspires those who work for human rights worldwide. It’s fitting to bring this discussion to Atlanta, the cradle of the modern civil rights movement and a bastion of the movement for human rights in America.”

The theme for the Atlanta town hall is “Unfinished Work: Race, Civility and Equality of Opportunity.” Participants will be asked to explore the impact of race in our region and to consider the unfinished work yet to be done surrounding the issue of race in the Atlanta region.

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Foundation will sponsor the free public event in conjunction with the Fetzer Institute, the Georgia Humanities Council, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. It is one of eleven Town Hall Meetings being held across the country under the broad theme of “Lincoln’s Legacy: Race, Freedom and Equality of Opportunity.” Inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to build an equal opportunity society, the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission’s Lincoln Legacy Town Hall Meeting series seeks to build mutual understanding about differing perspectives on race and ethnicity and provide an opportunity to re-examine what it means to be American in the 21st century.

Co-conveners for this event include (list in formation): the Anti-Defamation League, APEX Museum, Atlanta History Center, Atlanta Jewish Committee, the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Baha’i Community of Atlanta, Clayton State University, Civic League of Regional Atlanta, Communities in Schools Atlanta, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Emory University—Transforming Community Project, Emory University—Center for Ethics, Exploritas, Intergenerational Dialogues, the Istanbul Center, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Kennesaw State University—Center for the Study of the Civil War, the Latin American Association, Morehouse College, National Archives—Southeast Region, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Oglethorpe University, OneWorld Archives, Rialto Center for the Arts- Georgia State University, Saving the Family Institute, UNCF—Capacity Building Institute, United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, the University of Georgia Press, and the Wren’s Nest. A planning committee of members from these co-convening organizations has been helping to plan for this event.

Confirmed panelists for this event include, Rebecca Burns, editor of Atlanta Magazine and author of Rage in Gate City; Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials; Sachi Koto of Sachi Koto Communications, formerly with CNN Headline News; Martin Lehfeldt, Past President Southeastern Council of Foundations; Herman Skip Mason, archivist at Morehouse College; Judith Martinez-Sadri, co-founder of Atlanta Latino; Alexis Scott, publisher of the Atlanta Daily World; and Beverly Tatum, president of Spelman College.

Confirmed speakers include Dr. Orville Vernon Burton, author of The Age of Lincoln, who will address the leadership town hall at noon on December 2nd, and Dr. Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University and best-selling author whose latest novel is Jericho’s Fall, will deliver the keynote on the evening of the 9th.

The Fetzer Institute of Kalamazoo, Michigan provided a major grant to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Foundation to produce the Lincoln Legacy Town Hall Meetings. Additional funding has been provided by Prudential Financial Inc., The Marjorie Kovler Fund, McCormick Foundation, Motorola Foundation, and Canadian National.


Congress established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to plan the nation’s celebration of the 16th president’s 200th birthday in 2009. The Commission works to engage the broadest range of individuals and groups in the commemoration. Through education programs, public forums, and the arts, the Commission provides an opportunity to re-examine Lincoln’s legacy in our 21st century democracy. Its members, who are appointed by the president and congressional leaders, include political leaders, jurists, historians and collectors.

The mission of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Foundation which was established in 2007 is to continue and build upon the work begun by the ALBC: to educate the public about Lincoln; to serve as an honest broker in building collaborations; and to foster civic engagement grounded in Lincoln’s ideals of freedom, democracy, and equality of opportunity as a guide.