Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2015

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B M & T ••• September/October 2015 ••• 4 The world has lost one of its most dedicated and coura- geous fighters for freedom, justice and equality with the passing of Julian Bond on August 15, 2015 at age 75. From his heroic feats during the turbulent '60s as a student activist at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Com- mittee, to his statesmanlike leadership of the NAACP (1998-2010), he repre- sented the interests of the African- American community, and for that matter broader society, with much dignity, class and conviction. Bond wore many hats during his sto- ried lifetime. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives fol- lowing the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, which had cleared the way for African-Americans to register and vote. Despite his election, Georgia state rep- resentatives voted in 1966 not to seat him because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. That same year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Bond had been denied his constitutionally guaran- teed freedom of speech and ordered that he be seated. He later was elected PUBLISHER'S MESSAGE Solomon J. Herbert Publisher/Editor-In- Chief E-Mail: to six consecutive terms in the Georgia Senate, serving from 1975-1987. Bond also served as an educator, teaching at several universities, including American, Drexel, Harvard and the University of Virginia. Additionally, he became the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971, and was chosen as chairman of the NAACP in 1998, serving until 2010. While I had the pleasure of meeting Brother Bond on several occasions over the years, I did not personally know him well. But spending many years during the 1960s as a freedom fighter in the Civil Rights Movement myself, I had fol- lowed his career closely and was inspired by his tenacity, social conscious- ness and brilliance. All qualities that our contemporaries in the travel/hospitality industry should endeavor to emulate. If more of our colleagues chose to fol- low his example by adopting some of Bond's traits, there's no doubt in my mind that African-Americans in this and other industries could greatly hasten their rate of progress and advancement up the corporate ladder. We must col- lectively be more proactive and become agents of change if we want to see true parity and diversity in the hospitality- /tourism/meetings industry. If you are satisfied with there being only 10 African- Americans heading up CVBs in the US out of about 500 Bureaus, then by all means, do nothing and the status quo will remain in place. But if you want this picture to change, as I do, then you must take a stand and let your voice be heard. Ask yourself this question: Do you want to be part of the solution, or part of the problem? The choice is up to you! Black Meetings & Tourism is published bi-monthly by SunGlo Enterprises, 20840 Chase St., Winnetka, CA 91306-1207 •Telephone: (818)709-0646/Fax: (818) 709-4753 Copyright 2015 by SunGlo Enterprises. All rights reserved. Single Copies, $6.00 Subscriptions $45.00. Postage Paid at Pasadena, CA. •Postmaster send address changes to Black Meetings & Tourism, 20840 Chase St., Winnetka, CA 91306-1207.

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