Aug. 19, 2004 – When the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation holds its 34th annual Legislative Conference Sept. 8-11 in Washington, D.C., Delegate Donna M. Christensen will probably be among the missing.
"The primary comes at absolutely the worst time," she said, referring to the territory's Sept. 11 Democratic Party primary, where she'll face off against Basil Ottley Jr.
Christensen will spend those crucial conference days campaigning in the Virgin Islands. However, she said she still plans to co-sponsor two events on the program — an AIDS Issue Forum on Sept. 9 and a Health Braintrust presentation on Sept. 10.
This year, the AIDS Issue Forum topic will be "Sex, Sexuality, Taboos, Myths and Relationships: AIDS and Health in Afro-Descendant Communities."
The Health Braintrust topic is "The Intersection of Racism, Culture, Behavior and Health: Transforming Barriers Into Bridges to Wellness."
Christensen, who chairs the CBC Health Braintrust, said that even if she's home campaigning, her husband, Christian Christensen, will be in Washington.
"He's co-chair of the spouses' fashion show and involved in the golf tournament," she said. And he'll host her table at a gala and a prayer breakfast.
The overall theme of this year's conference is "Defining the Moment and the Movement."
Weldon J. Rougeneau, Black Caucus Foundation president, said this year's gathering has particular significance because 2004 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education and the 40th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The landmark Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that separate educational facilities for whites and blacks are "inherently unequal" set the stage for the Civil Rights Act.
Although decades have passed since those decisions, Christensen said that in some parts of the country children still receive unequal education. And as time passes, black children in more affluent areas know less and less about the sacrifices made so future generations could improve their quality of life.
Christensen said when her children were small she took them to see the 1988 movie "Mississippi Burning," a fictionalized account of the 1964 disappearance of three civil rights workers. "It was a real eye opener and gave them some inkling," she said.
The foundation has invited Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama to speak at the conference. A candidate for the U.S. Senate, he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention last month and is viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party.
Other invited speakers include Dr. David Satcher, president of the Morehouse School of Medicine; actors Danny Glover, Bill Cosby and Jamie Foxx; media mogul Russell Simmons of the Hip Hop Action Network and former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name, and the city and state/country or island where you reside.
Publisher's note : Like the St. John Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.