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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 12, 1997

President Clinton today announced his intent to appoint seven members to an advisory board for "One America in the 21st Century: The President's Initiative on Race."

The advisory board will counsel the President on his initiative to promote a national dialogue on controversial issues surrounding race; to increase our understanding of the history of race relations and the common future people of all races share; to recruit leadership at all levels to help bridge racial divides; and to propose actions to address critical areas such as education, economic opportunity, housing, health care, crime and the administration of justice.

President Clinton has cited the nation's most important mission as building one America. "Money cannot buy it. Power cannot compel it. Technology cannot create it. It can only come from the human spirit," he has said.

Advisory board members were selected based on their outstanding leadership on the issue of race and their contributions to America's ongoing efforts to achieve racial reconciliation. The President sought a group that would provide diversity on a number of fronts, be respected in their fields and work well together, exemplifying the relationships he hopes the whole initiative will engender.

LINDA CHAVEZ-THOMPSON, of Washington, DC, is an Executive Vice President with the AFL-CIO. Ms. Chavez-Thompson has 29 years experience in the labor movement. She joined the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in 1971 and became the first person of color to be elected to one of the top officer positions at the AFL-CIO.

SUZAN D. JOHNSON COOK, of Bronx, New York, is Senior Pastor of the Bronx Christian Fellowship Church. She is also the first female chaplain of the New York City Police Department. In 1983, the Rev. Dr. Cook became the first African-American woman to serve as Senior Pastor at Mariners' Temple Baptist Church, the oldest American Baptist Church in New York City. From 1993 to 1994, Dr. Cook was a White House Fellow, working for the White House Domestic Policy Council. She served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1994 to 1997. Dr. Cook received a B.S. from Emerson College in 1976, an M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College in 1978, an M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in 1983 and a D. Min. from United Theological Seminary in 1990.

JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN, of Durham, North Carolina, is a retired historian and educator, who most recently served as Professor of Legal History at Duke University Law School from 1982 to 1992. President Clinton awarded Dr. Franklin the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995. Dr. Franklin's scholarly work has focussed on the Civil War and Reconstruction era and includes the 1946 landmark study From Slavery to Freedom. Dr. Franklin received his A.B. degree from Fisk University in 1935, an M.A. from Harvard University in 1936 and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1941.

THOMAS H. KEAN, of Madison, New Jersey, is the former Republican Governor of New Jersey. Governor Kean currently serves as President of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He is the chairman of President Clinton's Campaign to Reduce Teenage Pregnancy. He served on the United States delegation to the Women's Rights Conference in Beijing in 1995. Governor Kean holds numerous awards from environmental and educational organizations, including more than 25 honorary degrees. Governor Kean received a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. from Columbia University Teachers College.

ANGELA E. OH, of Los Angeles, California, is an attorney with the Los Angeles law firm of Beck, De Corso, Daly, Barrera & Oh, specializing in state and federal criminal defense. Following the riots in Los Angeles, she served as Special Counsel to the Assembly Special Committee on the Los Angeles Crisis. Ms. Oh received a B.A. and M.P.H. in 1981 from the University of California and a J.D. in 1986 from the University of California.

ROBERT THOMAS, of Coto DeCaza, California, currently serves as President and CEO of Nissan Motor Corporation, U.S.A. Mr. Thomas recently created a partnership with the Los Angeles Urban League to increase opportunities for women and minorities in the automobile industry. Mr. Thomas is also a director of the Nissan Foundation, which issues grants to support community agencies in South Central Los Angeles. Mr. Thomas holds a B.S. in Engineering from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

WILLIAM F. WINTER, of Jackson, Mississippi, is the former Democratic Governor of Mississippi and is currently in private law practice with the law firm of Watkins, Ludlam & Stennis. Governor Winter serves as Chair of the National Commission on the State and Local Public Service and the National Issue Forum Institute. While Governor, he fought for education reform, equal opportunity for all citizens and better relations between the races. He received his B.A. in 1943 and LL.B. in 1949 from the University of Mississippi.

The President has asked CHRISTOPHER EDLEY, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to serve as a consultant to the advisory board and the President. Mr. Edley has been a Professor at Harvard Law School since 1981 and is co-director of The Civil Rights Project, a recently launched think tank based at Harvard University. Mr. Edley served as Special Counsel to President Clinton, directing a review of affirmative action. Mr. Edley received a B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1973, an M.P.P. from the Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1978.