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Establishment of African American Think Tanks

WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1909, and in 1910 established The Crisis Magazine as the voice of the Civil Rights Movement; and

WHEREAS, The Crisis magazine provided in depth research and resources that guided human thought throughout the Civil Rights Movement by framing the issues, provoking dialogue and prompting action; and

WHEREAS, since the 1960's, the right wing movement has created over 360 conservative Think Tanks; and

WHEREAS, these conservative Think Tanks have defined policy issues and approaches for public attention, skillfully using mainstream and alternative media outlets to create a powerful echo effect in and beyond the nation's capitol; and

WHEREAS, the proliferation and continued heavy funding of policy institutions such as the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Heritage Foundation threatens to tilt the debate even further to the right on key policy issues and options; and

WHEREAS, these groups flood the media with hundreds of opinion editorials, their top staff appear as political pundits and policy experts on dozens of television and radio shows across the country and their lobbyists work the legislative arenas, distributing policy proposals, briefing papers, and position statements; and

WHEREAS, fifty three (53%) percent of major media's Think Tank citations, according to Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting [FAIR] of their third annual survey of major newspaper and broadcast media, were provided by think tanks of the right, while citations from the progressive or left leaning think tanks amounted to merely 16% of total citations; and

WHEREAS, these Think Tanks promote highly ideological views through multi-policy fronts which argue against many of the tenets, goals and objectives of the NAACP, such as the fight to destroy affirmative action, arguments to establish a school voucher program, curtailing long standing civil rights laws and initiatives; conservative policy ideas and rhetoric have come to dominate the nation's political conversation; and

WHEREAS, these groups continue to promote a highly ideological view through multi-policy fronts to counteract the Civil Rights message by misappropriating the slogans and statements, namely forwarding a claim that Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy is in line with their conservative positions and ideas; and

WHEREAS, despite recently reported gains in the incomes of poor Americans last year, the nation remains an economically and racially divided one, with more than 40 million Americans lacking health insurance, an appalling twenty (20%) percent child poverty rate, a rising prison population, the disappearance of jobs in inner city neighborhoods, and sharp and continuing inequities in education and educational opportunity; although such economic inequities and social divisions might be expected to raise serious questions about the nation's political ethic, the current institutional forces during federal and state policy debates almost guarantee that these will not even be asked.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to establish a core of African American Think Tanks to counteract the anti-civil rights message of the conservative movement by the year 2015; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that these Think Tanks shall stress research and monitor, record, and analyze racial progress and retrogression in the African American community; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the establishment of these Think Tanks must serve to educate American society on African American values and issues.