Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr.
Presiding Bishop, COGIC
Bishop Blake is the Presiding Bishop of West Angeles Church of God in Christ, one of the largest churches in the Western United States, with a membership of over 25,000.
President Barack Obama sought Blake to serve on his 25-person White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This one-year appointment is a testament to Blake’s passion for the community and his desire to unite all people for the common good. He was also chosen as one of four individuals to speak at the Democratic National Convention’s first ecumenical service.
He also founded and was President of the Pan African Children’s Fund (PACF), in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. Save Africa’s Children, a program of PACF, provided support to over 420 orphan care programs, 200,000 children, and 24 nations throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Bishop Blake also served as an Advisory Committee member of the Pentecostal World Conference, and as the founder and co-chair of the Los Angeles Ecumenical Congress (LAEC), a coalition of religious leaders and pastors.
President, AFSCME International Union
Lee Saunders is the President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), AFL-CIO, which represents 1.6 million members. He is the first African-American to serve as AFSCME’s president, and was previously elected Secretary-Treasurer at the union’s 39th International Convention in July 2010.
Under Saunders’ leadership, the union has launched a program called AFSCME Strong that builds power through internal and external organizing, and recognizes the individual contributions AFSCME members make to serving and strengthening their communities. The program is credited with growth in AFSCME membership despite current challenges faced by the labor movement as a whole.
Saunders serves as a Vice President of the AFL-CIO Executive Council, which guides the daily work of the labor federation; he also serves as chair of its Political Committee. He is an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee, President of Working America, Treasurer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and member of the Board of Directors of the Democracy Alliance.
Congressman John Lewis
Representative of Georgia
John Lewis is the U.S. Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District.
In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. During the height of the movement, from 1963 to 1966, Lewis was named chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which he helped form. SNCC was largely responsible for organizing student activism in the movement, including sit-ins and other activities.
By 1963, he was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the civil rights movement. At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.
He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served since then. He is Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, a member of its Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, and Ranking Member of its Subcommittee on Oversight.
Chairman, GoodWorks International, Ambassador to UN (former), Atlanta Mayor (former)
Ambassador Andrew Young is an ordained minister, international businessman, sports enthusiast, human rights activist, published author, and former public servant. He was a top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights movement and was elected to three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from the Fifth Congressional District of Georgia.
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter named him as ambassador to the United Nations. He later served two terms as mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, and in 1994 President Clinton appointed him to chair the Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund, a $100 million privately managed fund to provide equity to businesses in 11 countries in southern Africa. He was also co-chairman of the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996, and is currently chairman of GoodWorks International, a specialty consulting group based in Atlanta that provides strategic services to corporations and governments operating in the global economy.
Executive Director, NFL Players Association
DeMaurice Smith was elected unanimously by a board of active player representatives on March 16, 2009 and re-elected unanimously on March 29, 2012.
On August 4, 2011, Smith signed a 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with NFL management, leading the players through the owners’ 132-day lockout. The new CBA codifies new health and safety protocols for players, achieves longer off-seasons, significantly reduces the amount of contact during practices, provides for unannounced inspections of training camps, creates the first compliance and accountability structure for NFL medical personnel, and provides the players with their highest share of TV contract revenues in history.
Prior to his post at the NFLPA, Smith was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia and was Counsel to then–Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. He was awarded the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s highest honor for courtroom advocacy and the Department of Justice’s highest honor by U.S. Attorney General Janet W. Reno.
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