The fight for civil rights in the United States was at its height when Global Citizens Circle began its work in the early 1970’s. While the names and the places where the fight for human and civil rights have changed over the years, the need for constructive dialogue and new solutions has not diminished. Global Citizens Circle is committed to honoring, listening to and learning from those who started young and stayed at it and those who are taking the baton and running with it now.
Civil Rights and Song
Nine years after the death of her husband, Coretta Scott King recalled the early days in the streets; the Selma march, and the Memphis sanitation workers strike. Civil rights activist and Sweet Honey in the Rock founder, Bernice Johnson Reagon, presented Circle guests with her gift of song and spirit.
AIDS and the Human Right to Health
Sandra Thurman, US State Deptartment Global AIDS Coordinator, Ochoru Otunnu, Founder of Africa AIDS Initiative, Eric Sawyer, longtime AIDS activist, and Rory Kennedy, filmmaker, discussed the AIDS pandemic at several Circles. As Kennedy spoke about the challenge of combating HIV-AIDS, she warned, “It’s not an option to sit on the sidelines.”
Why Race Matters
In 1975 a young Georgia state senator, Julian Bond, sparked discussion among participants who held differing points of view about busing as a tool to achieve desegregation. Several decades later, on the heels of an anniversary of the LA Riots, Cornel West led discussion on American racial dilemmas and called “for moral regeneration and profound social change.”
The Fight for Freedom
What do Chinese human rights activist Wei Jingsheng, Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu, and civil rights activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte have in common? They led GCC discussions and spoke of their hopes for freedom and democracy throughout the world. Each would agree with Tutu’s words, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
These are just a few examples of numerous intergenerational Circles held on these and related topics.
Students of all ages attend Circles free of charge and have an opportunity to listen, learn and interact with discussion leaders.