Global Peace Foundation, USA, hosted the inaugural First Amendment Voice (FAV) National Symposium the weekend of September 16th and 17th in Philadelphia with key stakeholders who were involved in the first phase of FAV development. They included the Douglass Leadership Institute, The LIBRE Initiative, KCCD, Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, the Adams Center, and the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.
The Symposium was broken down into three separate, yet inter-related components:
- Friday Night Opening Program
- Saturday Symposium hosted at the National Constitution Center
- Sunday a ‘Call to Prayer & Action’ hosted by Rev. Dr. Herb Lusk, II at Greater Exodus Baptist Church of Philadelphia.
The Symposium was the platform for FAV to move from Phase one, creation, educational and material development, strategic stakeholder commitments, and training sessions, to Phase two, the creation of a national alliance.
The Symposium’s agenda opened with a plenary that asked speaker’s to address “The First Amendment and Current Issues.” The panel represented, academic, religious, and legal backgrounds and spoke clearly to each of the four components of the First Amendment. Participants were then divided into four groups where they responded to three questions with concepts and processes that could be used in resolving or addressing the identified issues.
A high-level Town Hall Meeting was then convened and live streamed across three separate organizational sites. Dr. Robert Schuller served as the moderator. Senator Stuart Adams of Utah, Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez, Rev. Dr. Herb Lusk, II and Jim Flynn all addressed the challenges, concerns, and implications that our nation is facing around the First Amendment.
The symposium concluded with a ceremonial presentation of the second phase of FAV – the establishment of an alliance. The eleven States represented and delegates who stood in support, solidarity, and affirmation for the alliance and its initiatives where:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
Four platforms were identified as processes and efforts for the FAV Alliance. They are:
- Through an established network, bring individuals/groups together as one voice of advocacy with a focus on a developing or current major issue(s).
- Through the establishment of a Young Leader’s Advisory Committee, educate Millennials on First Amendment rights and its application to citizenship in the American Democratic Republic where they transition into an advocacy movement.
- Engage people and organizations of different faiths, religions & races in order to reclaim religious freedom and rights to express the same as a positive force in society. Building upon a Community-2-Community model which provides monthly forums and/or gatherings.
- Convene civic education and engagement through a religious liberties platform by building upon the historical model of the Civil Rights work to aid the social justice movement as they address the growing racial disparities and divide in our nation.
View the full town hall.
View more photos here.