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Don’t talk about it, be about it.  Someone said that to me once when I was just a little girl.  At first, I was annoyed, but I quickly realized what he meant:  if you don’t take action and do something, then you can’t complain about it. I guess you could say the lesson sorta stuck. In life, if you aren’t a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. The same thing stands with activism and politics. We can complain all day about the present state of humanity but unless we work for tangible and strategic solutions to improve our conditions, we are aiding in our own victimization.

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From April 3 to April 6, civil rights activists, clergy, youth leaders, young professionals, individuals from the Obama Administration, prominent voices in the medi,a and many more will gather in New York at the Sheraton Times Square for National Action Network’s (NAN) annual convention.

We will gather to assess the state of civil rights, tackle existing challenges, strategize, and prepare for the future.  The entire conference is free and open to the public, all you need to do is pre-register here.  As the National Executive Director of NAN, I invite all of you to join us during such a critical time when our civil rights are under imminent attack.

As folks gather from around the country (and some from around the world) at NAN 2013, they can participate in a number of engaging panels and plenary sessions.  We’ll be joined by such dynamic folks as the United States Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, the eldest son of Dr. Martin L. King Jr., Martin Luther King III, Spike Lee, BET’s Chairwoman Debra Lee, the parents of Trayvon Martin, TV and radio host Ed Schultz, Dr. Charles Ogletree, Magic Johnson, and many, many more.

We’ll be touching on everything from financial empowerment and quality education to reducing gun violence and preserving the rights of women and minorities.

Anyone who reads my blogs and pays attention to the work that we do at NAN knows how vocal we’ve been about attacks on people of color, women, the poor, and other marginalized groups.  Prior to the 2012 election, we saw some trying to take away our right to vote and others trying to stop us from having control over our own bodies.

By campaigning, organizing, and pushing back against voter ID laws and the war on women, we showed them all.  It is because we didn’t sit back quietly and accept discrimination that we proved to them and ourselves where the real power is – in our hands.

Recently, we saw the Supreme Court take up cases on voting rights, gay/lesbian rights, and more.  And as I write this piece, we’re watching gun control legislation hang in the balance yet again.

Gun control – a subject very near and dear to me as my son’s father was killed by gun violence – is something that seriously impacts all of us.

From kids in places like Chicago and Detroit having to dodge bullets just to get to the classroom to anyone who thinks twice before watching a movie, going to the mall, or simply walking in their neighborhood, each and every one of us should be concerned.  We must let our voices be heard so we will raise our voices at NAN’s 2013 convention.

I learned at a very early age that if you aren’t happy with the way things are, you have to get up and do something about it.  Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, student, teacher, professional, grassroots organizer, or a member of the Church, we need you – all of you — there. We will use this convention as a rallying call for mobilization and activism and will emerge with a strategy for empowerment. United together is the only way we will triumph over the assault of our civil rights.

Be sure to pre-register for NAN 2013 and don’t miss the most exciting few days of activism as we take over the Sheraton from April 3 to 6.

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