MLK Lecture Keynote Speaker Discusses the Agenda for the Next Civil Rights Movement

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If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, what would he find as the most pressing social and economic justice challenges facing the U.S. in the 21st century? Would he be satisfied with the progress the nation has made to ensure that all Americans enjoy the promise of the rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"

“It has been nearly 50 years since the assassination of Dr. King, yet many of the same issues he worked to address, including racial discrimination, poverty, and social justice, continue to be important to many in our nation today,” said Archie Ervin, vice president for Institute Diversity. “That is why the theme of this year’s MLK Celebration at Georgia Tech is ‘Setting the Agenda for the Next Civil Rights Movement.’”

During Georgia Tech’s MLK Lecture on January 11, Bakari Sellers, CNN political analyst, lawyer, and activist, honored Dr. King’s legacy while setting the agenda for the next civil rights movement with students, faculty, staff, and community members. During his remarks, Sellers asked the audience: “How far have we come, and where do we go from here?”

“When you think about the sacrifice of the civil rights leaders like Marion Barry and Julian Bond, and you ask yourself, ‘Where do we go from here?’ there are two choices — chaos or community — as Dr. King once outlined,” said Sellers. “The answer between these choices lies fundamentally in our ability to dream with our eyes open.”

According to Sellers, “When you dream with your eyes open, you seek nothing less than excellence.” He gave an example from his own life, when he made history in 2006 as the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African-American elected official in the nation.

“We have to remember the names that are not taught. For example, Shirley Chisholm helped paved the way for Hillary Clinton,” remarked Sellers. “We stand on the shoulders of countless heroes who deserve from us to continue this journey on the race to excellence.”

To view the MLK Lecture in its entirety, visit

Georgia Tech’s MLK Celebration is sponsored by Institute Diversity, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, Office of Government and Community Relations, Office of Student Diversity Programs, and Student Government Association. To learn more about the MLK Celebration, visit


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  • Created By:Annette Filliat
  • Created:01/24/2017
  • Modified By:Annette Filliat
  • Modified:01/24/2017