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September 17, 2005

Norman Meyer at 202-225-6231


Brooklyn, NY- September 17, 2005 – Beginning Wednesday, September 21st and ending Sunday, September 25th, The Annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend will conduct its usual programs and events; however, an appeal for help for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina will be conducted throughout the weekend. Tuxedos and black ties will be dropped by the congresspersons at the landmark dinner; and t-shirts and jeans will be worn during many of the forum and workshop activities. In particular, the prayer breakfast will be a solemn ceremony of remembrance. Special collections will be made at certain receptions and parties including the New York State Delegation gathering on Saturday night after the dinner.

Congressman Owens is sponsoring a special “doubleheader” this weekend. On Thursday, September 22nd at 2pm in the Convention Center, an Issues Forum entitled The Labor Crisis and the Black Community will explore basic questions concerning union organizing in the African-American community. Included among the panelists are William Burrus, President of the American Postal Workers Union; Gerald Hudson, Executive Vice President of SEIU, Nat Lacour, Secretary-Treasurer of The American Federation of Teachers; Wanda Williams, Executive Assistant to the President of DC37 AFSCME; and William Lucy, Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME and President of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

Continuing his fight for better school facilities and effective teaching technology, Congressman Owens will open his CBC Education Braintrust agenda with a Friday breakfast on Capitol Hill. The theme “Closing The Education Excitement Gap” will permeate all of the Education Braintrust activities on Friday, September 23rd and Saturday, September 24th. On Friday there will be an afternoon session to launch a new movement emphasizing the fact that “Quality Education Is A Civil Right.” In the late afternoon there will be an Exhibit Fair at the National Education Association Headquarters followed by an Evening Gala and Soul Food Dinner. On Saturday morning at 11am following the Prayer Breakfast there will a be a final Roundtable Forum to develop an action plan for the effort to push the position that “Quality Education Is A Civil Right.”

The catastrophe of Katrina and the future of education in the City of New Orleans will be an auxiliary consideration throughout the deliberations of the Education Braintrust.

“Out of the tragedy of New Orleans perhaps we should dare to try to rebuild a school system that could serve as a model for inner city education,” states Congressman Owens with great hope. “This must include the restoration of three African American higher education institutions: Dillard, Xavier, and Southern Universities.”


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