National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression, or sexuality.
The right to equal justice under the law should not be conditional or based upon a person’s color or economic status. Over the last two decades NAN has been in the vanguard of the movement to bring such equality to every community that has been unfairly treated. Using the principles of non-violent direct action and civil disobedience NAN has helped to level the field and ensure a measure of justice for those who would abuse their status or seek to dispense justice based upon race or other illegal factors. Racial profiling, stop and frisk policing and police brutality were standard practice in many communities just over 20 years ago. Many of the anti-racial profiling laws on the books today are a direct result of NAN’s commitment to the principles and practices of Dr. King and the tradition of non-violent engagement. Through its advocacy, NAN continues to impact public policy and ensure that government itself is held accountable to the law.
NAN has been at the forefront of the fight to uphold police accountability, advocating locally and nationally. We successfully worked with the Governor of New York to pass an executive order to require a special prosecutor to be appointed in every case of a police shooting of an unarmed person. We brought that policy nationwide with the Ida B. Wells campaign, which kicked off in California in 2017. We also have worked with the police on local New York issues such as fare evasion, body cameras, and the Right to Know Act.
NAN has led the fight against police misconduct and other injustices by ensuring that those whose rights are violated are brought to justice. NAN's efforts were on display in response to events involving the police sodomy of Abner Louima; the police killings of Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham, and Eric Garner among others; and the killing of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood “watchman.”