Southern Partners Fund Hosts Where Do We Go From Here? A Listening Circle Conversation to Commemorate the 59th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education

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This phone-in event will focus on the role of philanthropy in furthering the intent of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision, and on examining contemporary problems resulting from de facto segregation

Southern Partners Fund (SPF) will convene “Where Do We Go from Here? A Listening Circle Conversation.” This event will be held on Monday, May 13, 2013, from 11:00am – 12:30pm EST. To register for the call email: fernando(at)spfund(dot)org or call 404.541.9091 Ext 114. The event is open to the public.

On May 17, 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in the case of Oliver Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, signaling the beginning of the end of racial segregation in the United States. By a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court found that segregating children of different races in distinct schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees all citizens Equal Protection of the laws.

The purpose of this conversation is to commemorate the historic decision by examining and learning from the complex issues of racial injustice resulting from the high court decision; give recognition to the reality that communities are still suffering from its effects; highlight the historical gains made by grassroots leaders and organizations still fighting against injustice in the public school system, and explore past and present roles of grantmakers, individual philanthropists and resource organizations committed to winning the battle for lasting and permanent justice and equal opportunity in public school education.

The Conversation will be facilitated by Southern Partners Fund Senior Advisor Hubert Sapp. Presenters include civil rights veteran Karen Watson, Executive Director of Positive Action Committee (PAC) and Chair of the Southern Rural Education Network (SERN), established by the Southern Partners Fund. Joining the panelists will be guest presenters Steve Suitts, vice president of the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), who will share pre-Brown remembrances and SEF’s current work; Alan McGregor, former Executive Director of the Sapelo Foundation, who will discuss post-Brown philanthropic, community and civil rights gains and challenges; and Lori Bezahler, President of the Edward Hazen Foundation, who will discuss the role of philanthropy and the Foundation’s current grantmaking strategies to help end the School to Prison crisis impacting African American, Latino and disabled youths.


“Many of our grantee partners have more than 50 years’ experience tackling the onslaught of challenges imposed when school districts were slow to comply with the court ordered mandate of integration to achieve racial balance,” said SPF Interim Assistant Director Rose Johnson. “SPF remains committed to providing ongoing funding to support grassroots groups who work tirelessly to dismantle the cause and lingering impact of de facto segregation throughout the rural South. As a public charity, we encourage our allies in philanthropy to allocate greater resources to support community organizing for education reform and racial justice. We also ask people of good will across the nation to begin to think about the significance of Brown, and use this as a time to prepare conversations and events in preparation for the 60th Anniversary ( May 17, 2014) of this historic decision.”

Southern Partners Fund is a regional grant making Foundation that has invested more than $1 million in education reform, in the rural South, since 1998. The foundation serves over 200 rural community groups in 12 southeastern states. We work with diverse communities that embody the legacy of struggle, and the future of social change. Our grantee partners are from areas of the South where organizing and community were rooted by and in the Civil Rights Movement and the Latino Farmworkers Movement. The organizations and leadership that we fund live and walk in a historical reality that includes communities from Selma, Alabama to Tupelo, Mississippi, to farm worker communities in Apoka, Florida and Appalachian women in rural West Virginia. These areas of the deep South includes historically underdeveloped regions with citizens, primarily people of color, who have lower incomes, low levels of education and higher disease rates than the rest of the country. It also has a growing population of immigrant workers often exploited and denied their basic constitutional rights.

Southern Partners Fund is a 501(c) (3) public foundation created to serve grassroots social change organizations throughout the Southeastern U.S. including: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Our Mission is to support rural Southern communities and organizations seeking social, economic, and environmental justice by providing them with financial resources, technical assistance and training, and access to systems of information and power to shift the balance of power in their communities.

Want to learn more or contribute to Southern Partners Fund’s effort to advance social change in the rural South? Visit us at: Donate online.

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Rose Johnson

Rasheedah Ali
Southern Partners Fund
404-541-9091 115
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