Sunday, May 7, 2017: Guest Speaker Professor Aldon Morris

Remembering Charley Horwitz

The Charley Horwitz Platform is held annually to honor the life and work of a devoted community organizer, civil rights activist, labor lawyer and international humanitarian.

“I thank Charley Horwitz for inviting me to join BSEC in 2004,” says Vandra Thorburn, chair of the Ethical Action Committee. “From a game of tennis to meetings around Haiti, Brooklyn Community Action Network,   Bed-Stuy’s PS 44 partnership and various Ethical committee meetings, Charley was always organizing and inviting me to participate. Sometimes I forget that’s what needs to be done: organize!”

“Charley was a wonderful man, as well as a gifted community and issues organizer. He took no personal credit for the myriad of local, state or national organizations, projects and campaigns he worked for over the decades,” remembers former BSEC leader, Lisel Burns. Charley Horwitz left his

Charley Horwitz left his hometown of Chicago for Mississippi in 1964. For the next nine years he worked for the SNC Freedom Fund, the Delta Ministry of the National Council of Churches and organized local chapters of the ACLU. “I regard my work there as the most significant and enriching experience of my life,” Charley wrote in 1985.

“I regard my work there as the most significant and enriching experience of my life,” Charley wrote in 1985. While in Mississippi, Charley met and married Carol Hinds, a teacher and activist, and together they raised two daughters, Rebecca and Allison. In 1974 the family moved north where Charley continued his legal work eventually becoming lead-counsel with the New York State Department of Labor enforcing the garment industry sweatshop laws, minimum wage and related employment laws.

In addition to being President of BSEC Board of Trustees (1997-2003), Chair of its Ethical Action Committee, on the National Board of Fonkoze USA (a micro-credit bank in Haiti), he served on the Executive Committee of the Brooklyn Parents for Peace and its Israel-
Palestine Committee. In 2005, he organized a group of civil rights leaders to visit the occupied territories in Gaza and provide “report backs” to congregations and community organizations in the NY metro area.

“When Charley and I visited Gaza in 2005, we were horrified to see what oppressive  conditions were being carried out by the Israeli Government,” shares Carol Horwitz. “I know Charley is with me as I oppose the bigotry and oppression of US and Israeli policies through my work with the Jewish Voice for Peace.”

An Event for Activists, Organizers and Scholars

On Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 53 Prospect Park West, the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture will honor the leadership of two great civil rights organizers – Charley Horwitz and W.E.B. Du Bois – and invites the community to join in a day long conversation to learn from them and each other as we “level up” and prepare to take on the challenges of today.  We will also enjoy a Haitian Kermesse with food, crafts, music and dance throughout the day.  

Please join us in supporting this important work by becoming a sponsor of The Journal to Honor Activists, Organizers and Scholars ( please use the form below for the donation and sponsorship)

The Charley Horwitz Memorial Platform:  11am – 12:30pm
This Memorial Platform is held to honor the life and work of a devoted community organizer, civil rights’ activist, labor lawyer and international humanitarian. Charley Horwitz moved to Mississippi from Chicago in 1964 to work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Council of Federated Organizations and the Delta Ministry of the National Council of Churches. He was President of the Board of Trustees at Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture and Chair of its Ethical Action Committee. Charley also served on the Executive Committee of Brooklyn for Peace and initiated the Israel/Palestine Committee after he and several SNCC organizers visited the Palestine occupied territories in Gaza in 2005.

Featured Speaker: Aldon Morris is the Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University and the author of The Scholar Denied where he argues that W.E.B. Du Bois was the founder of modern America sociology and that his contributions to the field were suppressed for decades due to institutional racism.  Born in Tutwiler, Mississippi, Morris experienced Jim Crow racism and segregation and the lynching of 14-year old Emmett Till. 

Haitian Kermesse: 12 – 7pm
Featuring arts, crafts, food vendors, musicians and entertainers, the Kermesse will include Haitian organizations like Fonkoze US, Neges Foundation and Greenhaiti. Musicians and entertainers sourced through the Haiti Cultural Exchange.

“Stepping Up Our Organizing Skills” — a teach-in and awards program:  2 – 4pm
Co-hosted with The Du Bois Bunche Center for Public Policy as an open session to honor activists, organizers and scholars. The DuBois Bunche Center was founded at Medgar Evers College to empower and cultivate the work of the next generation of scholar activists dedicated to solving the challenges confronting urban communities in the USA and throughout the African Diaspora. 


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