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HRC celebrates 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer

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This is a news release from the Human Rights Campaign

WASHINGTON, DC- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer -- and remember the brave sacrifices of the courageous men and women who participated in it-- by partnering with groups in Mississippi and North Carolina to engage more people in the American political process.

In Mississippi, HRC's Project One America is a lead sponsor of the Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference June 23-29, 2014. HRC staff will give presentations in the Youth Congress and Conference focused on race, sexual orientation and gender identity. Sessions will explore present-day struggles not only in Mississippi, but also globally.

"The Human Rights Campaign is proud to partner with the NAACP to honor this critical moment in civil rights history," said HRC Project One America Director Brad Clark. "We have a lot to learn from the courage of Freedom Summer activists.  They organized, risked and fought to ensure all Americans have access to the political process."

Freedom Summer is a notable moment in American history when hundreds of people from across the country showed up in the South to challenge repeated attempts to keep African-Americans from voting and even holding public office.

"Great communities in Mississippi are created when great partnerships exist between organizations working to improve the lives of all," said Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson, "Freedom Summer is an important time in the state's political history and we are pleased HRC will join us in honoring the contributions of so many Freedom activists and continue to work in coalition to expand access to democracy for all." 

In North Carolina, HRC is partnering with the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP and more than 200 of its coalition partners to encourage more citizens to register to vote. HRC will make a significant investment to mobilize its North Carolina membership, support field organizing and train voter registration organizers.

"Voter registration is a key part of this campaign," said HRC national field director Marty Rouse. "Our goal is to empower the people of North Carolina to become active participants in their democracy."

The three-month campaign centers on placing highly-trained organizers across the state to coordinate long-term voter empowerment. In the tradition of the original Freedom Summer effort, the current movement places a great emphasis on engaging youth and college-aged students to lead the work

Project One America

HRC's Project One America is a lasting investment concentrated in the Deep South by making progress on three fronts--changing hearts and minds, advancing enduring legal protections, and building more inclusive institutions for LGBT people from the church pew to the workplace. Project One America is a community-based program focusing on building a stronger LGBT presence and infrastructure. A full time local staff and dedicated office space in Jackson, MS will support this effort.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality. 

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