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ATLANTA – With the message of moving forward and giving voice to the disenfranchised, the African-American Credit Union Coalition recently kicked off its sixth annual meeting Aug. 12-14. Formed in 1999, the AACUC’s mission is to increase the number of African-American professionals in the movement. Over a five-year period, the Coalition’s membership has grown to more than 200 members governed by a nine-member board of African-American credit union president/CEOs and board members. AACUC Chairwoman Helen Godfrey reminded the more than 200 attendees here that the Coalition will remain faithful to its mandate of increasing the presence of African-Americans in the movement through its various programs, in line with the Coalition’s theme this year `Lifting Every Voice on that Midnight Train to Georgia.’ “We have no gimmicks,” said Godfrey, who is also president/CEO of Shreveport Federal Credit Union in Louisiana. “We all share a passion for the movement. We have members that are counting on us.” To carry out its mission of bringing a diverse perspective to the industry, the AACUC works through the following committees: its Reaching Toward the Future internship program; mentoring program including the African Development Fund, which mentors credit unions in South Africa; membership committee; advocacy committee; funding development committee; and networking/marketing committee. Godfrey said it’s time to pick up where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left off with his `I Have a Dream’ speech, delivered to 200,000 persons more than 40 years ago. “We have been quiet too long, it’s time to wake up from the dream and give voice to the vision,” Godfrey said. Just like King’s dream, the AACUC is not seeking to isolate itself from the industry but welcomes all who feel just as strongly about bringing a different voice to the movement, said Michael Hale, AACUC advocacy committee chairman and president/CEO of Andrews Federal Credit Union in Suitland, Md. “It’s not just about the color of your skin but the color of your attitude,” said Hale, who relayed a history of how the AACUC came into existence. “We are not a monolithic organization. We have supporters (of all kinds) that support our mission and are doing their part to lift the voice of all who don’t have a voice or the courage.” Indeed, AACUC’s supporters and members include credit unions, corporates, several state leagues, CUNA Mutual Group, CUES, Fannie Mae, and dozens of industry vendors. Peppered throughout the three-day meeting was the urgency of voting in this year’s election. Hale also gave attendees a tease of the destinations the AACUC is planning to attend for its upcoming annual meetings: Bahamas in 2005; Seattle in 2006; Cleveland in 2007; Houston in 2008; Orlando in 2009; and “somewhere in Africa” in 2010. [email protected]

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