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RDLN Assembly Held in Georgia

Shirley Sherrod, our host, is fifth from left on the right side of the sign. The park is named for her husband Charles, fourth from left, who was the first field coordinator for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the Civil Rights Movement and now teaches at Albany State College.

RLDN held its eighth National Network Assembly in October 2006 in Georgia, hosted by the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (FSC/LAF) and the Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative (SRBWI). Shirley Sherrod, RDLN graduate and RDLN Board Vice Chairwoman, is the lead staff person for both these groups in Georgia. The gathering was cosponsored by the National Rural Funders Collaborative. Network members from sixteen states participated. The Assembly included an immersion in the Civil Rights history of the area, including a program of Civil Rights songs, and site visits to economic development projects that have grown out of the Movement. These projects exemplify social justice at work in the food system. A special session focused on Black/Brown relations in communities of changing demographics. Network members engaged in dialogue on a range of issues for our Platform for Rural Communities and took part in a session on "Communicating with Legislators," led by our Chair, Moises Loza, Executive Director of the Housing Assistance Council. The group participated in organizational planning, including discussion of a possible Rural Consultant Group. There was a session on credit union development. A delegation of ten young people participated in the Assembly, and they led a special dialogue on Education and conditions in their schools. Health and fitness was emphasized with a morning walk each day and a gift of a pedometer to each attendee. We remembered Network members who have passed on. Rural Fellows graduate The Hon. Dr. Unita Blackwell read from her new autobiography Barefootin.

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