Summit for Civil Rights 2023 are seeking to Make America One Nation The Other America, Dr. Martin Luther King, 1967

SUMMIT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS 2023, September 28 - 29, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Reclaming Populism... 

..."We are the Ones We've Been Waiting for"

The Summit starts 1:00 PM on Thursday, September 28 and ends 4:00 PM Friday, September 29. The deadline for registration is Friday, September 29. You can go here to register.

 The 4th Summit for Civil Rights will be in Cleveland, Ohio on September 28 and 29, 2023.

Since 2017, the Summit for Civil Rights has convened multi-racial, non-partisan, gatherings of some of the nation’s top civil rights leaders in the field of organizing, labor, faith, academia, law, and elected office to respond to the powerful and dangerous intersection of enduring racial disparities, widening economic inequality, and rising political polarization throughout our entire society. 

This year's summit will feature AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Fred Redmond. Secretary Treasurer Redmond will be the recipient of the James E. Clyburn "Vaults of Opportunity" Award.

Former Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence is this year’s recipient of Shirley Chisholm Breakthrough Leader Award for her extraordinary and inspirational rise to power. Ms. Lawrence is a breakthrough leader whose history and experience personifies the American Civil Rights Movement’s critical alliance of organized labor, and powerful Black elected office holders.

We are also very pleased and honored to have two giants of the Black Church who together represent a powerful arch of the past, present, and future of the Civil Rights Movement. Cleveland's own Dr. Otis Moss and the new president of the national Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Rev. Dr. Freddie Haynes III, will be joining us to provide an inspiring message of hope and power. 

Sadly, we will also be paying tribute to and remembering warmly, and with deep gratitude, the late William (Bill) Spriggs and John H. Bracey Jr., two brilliant scholars and heroic civil rights champions who were ealry members of the Summit for Civil Rights team.

This year’s Summit comes six decades and one month after the great March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The Summit will reflect on the tremendous gains achieved for working people of all colors since 1963 while proposing action around the critical demands still not met for full and meaningful employment and an end to segregation in housing, jobs, and schools.

The Summit will start at 1:00 PM on Thursday, September 28, and end at 4:00 PM, Friday, September 29. Please mark your calendars and look out for more information including registration and sponsorship details.

2023 Summit Sponsors


The first Summit for Civil Rights began on November 9, 2017 at the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. It was held a year to the day after the election of Donald J. Trump and featured Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, Vice President Walter Mondale and many others. Since then, we have held two more gatherings sponsored by Rutgers University School of Labor Relations in New Brunswick, NJ and Georgetown University Law School’s Workers’ Rights Institute in Washington, DC.  Between events, a core committee of Summit organizers representing civil rights scholars, labor leaders, law students, clergy and elected officials have been assembling research and analysis to produce a set of recommendations for a strategic approach and a policy agenda to address some of the most critical issues facing our country.

The Summit for Civil Rights held this past July was the latest in the series of three convenings that included, among others: House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, NEA President Becky Pringle, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Vice President Walter Mondale, AME Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman; and many other civil rights activists, litigators, scholars and experts in education, housing, finance and labor .  

Our third Summit was held virtually under the cloud of the health emergency and economic catastrophe resulting from the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the immediate crisis of the pandemic, the Summit for Civil Rights conference maintained its focus on addressing the three main interrelated topics listed above: racial injustice, economic inequality and political polarization in America. We did not ignore the pandemic. On the contrary, the still unfolding crisis has acted as an ill-timed and regrettable overlay that seems to have only magnified racial disparities, deepened economic inequality and widened the political divide.

This document is an attempt to summarize some of the key areas of transformational reform we believe can and must be pursued by Congress and the new Administration to move our country in a different and better direction. It hopes to unite the energies and the constituencies committed to racial justice and those focused on middle-class opportunity for all Americans—especially groups tied to civil rights and organized labor, including faith communities and local elected officials. Much of this argues for a regional, or metropolitan, approach to bringing us closer together as a country socially, politically and economically.

2017 Summit Program and Agenda

2019 Summit Agenda

2020 Summit Agenda

2020 100 Day White House Policy Summit Agenda

Summary of Transition Recommendations

An Agenda for Racial Justice and Middle Class Opportunity for All Americans Within a Metropolitan Framework

On July 30 and 31, 2020, over 50 civil rights leaders, including renowned scholars and litigators, clergy and faith leaders, grassroots organizers, labor union presidents and elected officials including powerful members of Congress, convened with over 500 participants to examine and call for action on today’s triple crisis of deadly racial injustice, vanishing middle class opportunity and toxic political polarization. One of our central conclusions is that spatial disparities (segregation by race and income), especially across America’s metropolitan regions, are significant and critical drivers of structural inequalities in wealth, education and opportunity, widening both race and class divides and contributing to our already fractured politics. What follows are recommendations for federal action for reducing these disparities and expanding an inclusive middle class through structural reform at the regional level.


The Summit for Civil Rights 2019 Sponsors



The Summit for Civil Rights 2017 Sponsors