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--- Issued May 16, 2013

A contingent of staffers and officials of the Erie Housing Authority recently took to heart the message of civil rights activist Julian Bond at the Erie County Bar Association's Law Day luncheon.

Shown with Julian Bond at the Law Day luncheon are, from left, Bishop Dwane Brock, treasurer and Board member of the Erie Housing Authority; Julian Bond; and John E. Horan, executive director and secretary of the Authority.

John E. Horan, executive direct of the Authority, said Bond's message dovetails with the Authority's mission, which sets, as a goal, economic self-sufficiency for all of its residents.

"Fifty-eight percent of our residents are white, while 40 percent are black," Horan said.  "How can we expect that 40 percent to have a reasonably clear path to self-sufficiency and economic equality when they are little more than five decades removed from the Jim Crow era?

"Bond reminded us at the Erie Housing Authority that the civil rights movement is far from over for this country.  Yes, things have improved from the 1960s but we have a long way to go.  We all need people like Julian Bond, who was on the front line of civil rights, to remind us of that.

"Because of that 40 percent, Bond's message is one that we at the Erie Housing Authority cannot ignore."

Bond is the chairman emeritus of the board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

He told us Law Day audience that, "We are asked to believe that we Americans are a healed and whole people. "The truth is that Jim Crow might be dead, but racism is alive and well."

Bond said the goals of racial justice, economic equality and world peace that occupied King's life should "occupy ours today."

He gave credit to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the thousands who organized for social change with him for rolling back segregation and ushering in, after 300 years of oppression, an era where all people are equal – under the law, at least.