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Civil rights pioneer here for NAACP celebration

Citizen Staff Writer



Civil rights pioneer and educator Bernard LaFayette, Jr. will be in Tucson next week to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

LaFayette, co-founder of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960, was a close associate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and has spent his life setting up centers for peace and nonviolence training in the U.S. and around the world, said Sat Bir Kaur Khalsa, chairwoman of the Tucson Human Relations Commission.

“We are excited for him to come and pass his legacy on to young people,” she said. “They are our only future and we want them to learn (LaFayette’s) style of community organizing.”

LaFayette will be the keynote speaker for “Passing the Torch,” as part of Black History Month. His speech will be at the University of Arizona’s Gallagher Theater in the Student Union, 1209 E. University Blvd., at 7 p.m on Tuesday.

He will address the audience at the Northwest Neighborhood Center, 2060 N. Sixth Ave., at 5:30 p.m Wednesday during “A Century of Struggle,” a community presentation on how nonviolent strategies can be applied to human rights movements in Tucson.

On Thursday, LaFayette will lead a training session for 150 local high school and college age youths to become nonviolence leaders for the Tucson community. The training session will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the UA Student Union.

The following local community organizations came together to sponsor LaFayette’s visit: Culture of Peace Alliance, Derechos Humanos, Our Family Services, the Tucson Black Chamber of Commerce, Wingspan, TUSD Mexican American/Raza Studies, UA’s Center for Student Involvement & Leadership’s Social Justice Programs, and ASUA Women’s Resource Center.

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