Deepak Chopra and Civil Rights Movement Leaders Debate Half Century of Gains and Future Direction

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In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement, this year’s Sages and Scientists Symposium includes presentations by Dr. Clarence B. Jones, whose suggested words for the opening seven paragraphs of MLK’s "I Have a Dream" speech were included as proposed; Diane Nash, who in 1961 coordinated the Freedom Rider from Birmingham, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi, a story documented in the recent PBS American Experience film “Freedom Riders;” and Dr. Terrence Roberts, a member of the Little Rock Nine.

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The global community is invited to attend this historic event August 16-18, 2013.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. His “I Have a Dream” speech changed the course of history by challenging and inspiring the nation to confront injustice and live up to America’s founding ideals.

The Chopra Foundation invites the global community to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this speech at its fourth annual Sages and Scientist Symposium, August 16–18, 2013, in Carlsbad, California. Moderated by Deepak Chopra, the event brings together distinguished experts in science, business, healthcare, and humanity to examine and seek solutions to the problems that affect humanity’s evolution to a more peaceful, just, and sustainable society.

This year’s Sages and Scientists Symposium pays special tribute to the civil rights movement almost 50 years to the day since Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to over 250,000 supporters.

Guests will hear about the struggle for social justice from brave men and women who have served on the front line of the battles. Scheduled presentations include:

The Nonviolent Movement of the 1960s: A Legacy for Today
presented by Diane Nash
The philosophy upon which the civil rights movement was based holds many lessons and implications for society today. Few people really understand the movement; most know only what they read and saw in the news media. Diane Nash will discuss some of the principles and strategy of nonviolence that were used in the 1960s and then explore how this powerful philosophy and approach can be used to bring about social change today.

Diane Nash’s campaigns were among the most successful of the civil rights movement. They include the first successful civil rights campaign to desegregate lunch counters in Nashville; the Freedom Riders, who desegregated interstate travel; the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); and the Selma Voting Rights Movement, which helped African Americans gain voting and political power throughout the South.

The Legacy of Dr. King’s Commitment to Nonviolence: The 21st Century Challenge to Our Nation
presented by Dr. Clarence Benjamin Jones
As America commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s celebrated “I Have a Dream” speech this year, it is important to reflect on his belief that, inside or outside the home, there is never justification for choosing violence as a means of resolving problems.

Sadly, today there are more guns in America than people. The Trayvon Martin tragedy is a reminder that Dr. King’s dream that one day the citizens of this nation would rise up and embrace one another as brother and sisters—irrespective of race, ethnicity, or skin color—has not yet come true.

Clarence B. Jones is the Diversity Visiting Professor and Scholar in Residence at the Center for the Prevention of Violence and Conflict Resolution at the University of San Francisco, and he is a Scholar in Residence at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University. Jones was the former personal counsel, advisor, draft speechwriter, and close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and authored the books: “What Would Martin Say?” and "Behind the Dream: The Making of the speech that Transformed a Nation.”

Navigating the Racial Terrain
presented by Dr. Terrence James Roberts
For over 300 years, “we the people” of the United States of America have pursued a policy of racial discrimination by law and by custom. In 1954, as a consequence of the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the Supreme Court, the legal underpinnings for school segregation were removed, but other structures of racial discrimination remained intact. Systems, programs, policies, institutions, patterns, and a host of unwritten but well-known social codes buttressing racial division were left in place as if the law had never been altered.

Successfully negotiating our conflicted racial relations requires us to accurately perceive and acknowledge uncomfortable truths. Contrary to what many would have us believe, we have not yet reached that nirvana of post-racial existence where each person is regarded as having an equally vital contribution to offer society. It is imperative for all of us to develop a complete understanding of how society is structured and what each of us can do to alter the social terrain so that life opportunities are enhanced for all citizens. .

Dr. Terrence James Roberts was among the first group of black students to attend classes at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. For his bravery as a member of the Little Rock Nine, Mr. Roberts was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Clinton in 1999.

The Chopra Foundation’s Sages and Scientists Symposium is an exploration of the mergence—or (e)mergence—of the stream of fantastic new discoveries flowing from the scientific community with ancient—and still relevant—spiritual beliefs in anticipation of discovering a single reality.

Symposium presentations fall into five major categories:

  •          Science and Consciousness—Qualia: Going Beyond Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Physics
  •         Leadership—Defining a New Leadership: Serving a New Humanity
  •         Well-being—Conscious Living ~ Sustainability, Environment, Health, Technology, Education, Economy, Relationships
  •         Peace and Justice—Living Harmoniously
  •         World Transformation—Challenges and Creative Solutions: It’s Time to Do

The Sages and Scientists Symposium is punctuated with extraordinary performances by a wide variety of artists and acts. Symposium guests will experience the music of Grammy-Award-winning violinist Mira Ben-Ari as well as Chelsea Tyler and Jon Foster performing together as indie band BadBad.

The audience will also enjoy an illuminating student performance of Happiness is NOW (HIN), an energy-packed, interactive live show that utilizes the power of story, music, and dance to help young people appreciate the true meaning of happiness.

The symposium takes place at the La Costa Resort and Spa, August 16–18, 2013. Capacity is limited, and early registration is strongly encouraged.

About the Chopra Foundation
The Chopra Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to improving health and well-being, cultivating spiritual knowledge, expanding consciousness, and promoting world peace to all members of the human family.

The organization’s mission is to participate with individuals and organizations in creating critical mass for a peaceful, just, sustainable, and healthy world through scientifically and experientially exploring non-dual consciousness as the ground of existence and applying this understanding in the enhancement of health, business, leadership, and conflict resolution.

To learn more about the Chopra Foundation, please visit the Foundation’s website:

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Carolyn Rangel
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