Statement by the President: Commending the National Conference for Community and Justice (12/13/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

For Immediate Release
December 13, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Today I want to commend the National Conference for Community and
Justice (NCCJ) on its innovative efforts to further engage the faith
community in racial reconciliation.  NCCJ's Faith Leaders Initiative builds
on my Initiative on Race, and the March 9 White House meeting where leaders
of institutions of faith announced important new steps as they rededicated
themselves to fight racism.

     Today's Joint Statement on Racism, drafted and endorsed by a broad
group of faith leaders, recognizes the important role of people of faith in
fighting racism.  It states: "Racism is a problem of the heart and an evil
that must be eradicated from the institutional structures that shape our
daily lives including our houses of worship."  Those who affirm this
statement and make its seven pledges will indeed be part of transforming
our society to eradicate racism.

     In addition, the directory of promising practices, guidelines for
inter-religious forums, and list of 10 actions every individual can take to
fight racism are significant contributions toward fulfilling our vision of
One America.

     Many groups and individuals have worked long and hard to develop the
initiatives announced today.  It will take many more groups and many more
individuals to put these initiatives into action.  When the National
Conference for Community and Justice chose to continue the work of the Race
Initiative within the faith community, I trusted this unique organization
to bring new vision and extra vigor to that call.  Today's announcement
again attests to both its creativity and your commitment.  It is only
through work such as this that our nation will truly come to know both
racial justice and racial reconciliation -- truly be One America.


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