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Published: May 23, 2016
National Archives Hosts National Conversation on Rights and Justice in Atlanta

Event is First in a Series of "National Conversations on Rights and Justice" Held in Cities Across the Country

ATLANTA –The National Archives launched the first in its "National Conversations" series today in Atlanta, in partnership with the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum and the National Archives Foundation.

Held from spring 2016 to early 2017, the "National Conversations" series will explore topics related to the continuing and often complicated issues of rights in our modern era, including: immigration rights/reform, civil rights and individual freedom, women's rights and gender equality, and educational access and equity. Atlanta's event focuses on civil rights and justice, and featured a Q&A between former President Jimmy Carter and CEO of the National Civil and Human Rights Center Derreck Kayongo.

"I am honored to open the "National Conversations on Rights and Justice"series here in Atlanta, a city inextricably linked to the Civil Rights movement, with President Carter, who is likewise linked to the pursuit of human rights and justice," said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. "This year marks the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights. This founding document is the focus of a new exhibit titled Amending America that highlights the remarkably American story of how we have amended, or attempted to amend, the Constitution in order to form 'a more perfect union. The Bill of Rights remains closely connected to the biggest issues of today – and to each of our citizens. Through our National Conversations series, we invite Americans to explore contemporary issues, and to both address and discuss the challenge between individual rights and collective responsibilities."

The "National Conversations on Rights and Justice" is presented in part by AT&T, Ford Foundation, Seedlings Foundation, and the National Archives Foundation.

"Through the past 140 years, AT&T has evolved alongside the history of our nation, and our company's story – much like our nation's – is one of passion, of innovation and of people committed to making things better," said Bill Leahy, state president of AT&T Georgia. "All of us at AT&T are proud to be part of this year-long celebration, and those of us here in Atlanta are thrilled to be the first stop on the nationwide tour of Amending America."Dr. Meredith Evans, Director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, and Museum, and Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-4) joined Mr. Ferriero and Beth Adcock Shiroishi, AT&T's Vice President of Global Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy and Insights, in providing opening remarks during today's program.

The discussion between President Carter and Mr. Kayongo was followed by a panel on "Civil Rights: Then and Now," moderated by University of Connecticut's Jelani Cobb. Panelists included Ouleye Ndoye Warnock, Columbia University; Karin Ryan, Senior Policy Advisor on Human Rights and Special Representative on Women and Girls for the Carter Center; Lisa Williams, founder, Circle of Friends; and Dr. Kurt Young, Clark Atlanta University.

On Saturday, May 21, Georgia State University's Dr. Maurice Hobson will moderate panel on "Taking a Stand: Activism Today." Panelists include Carrie Freshour, Cornell University; Laura Emiko Soltis, Freedom University; and Fahamu Pecou, visual/ performing artist and scholar. The panel will be followed by a performance by Peabody Award-winning poet Abyss.

The National Archives Foundation has created a new online portal that will launch in conjunction with the Atlanta program, where visitors can watch a livestream, engage in discussions via social media, and view footage after the events conclude. Follow the event using #RightsAndJustice and learn more at:

The series will run in conjunction with the new exhibition, Amending America, open now in the Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC. The exhibition showcases both successful and unsuccessful attempts to amend the Constitution as part of the National Archives' commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Future events are planned in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, and Washington, D.C.

About the National Archives

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at

About the National Archives Foundation

The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country's heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America's records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at

About the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum and the adjoining non-profit Carter Center are a unique presidential facility. The library and museum preserve the history of the Carters and the Carter Administration and make it accessible to researchers and the public. Next door, the private Carter Center focuses its attention on improving the lives of people by fighting disease, hunger, poverty, conflict, and oppression around the world.


For media inquiries, please contact: Katie Dixon at: [email protected]
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