By: Dustin Petridge | Lifestyle Editor
On Jan. 21, the University of South Alabama’s Community Engagement Team kicked off the semester with a live conversation called Equal Justice Across Generations to honor Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on the week of his birthday.
In partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, several speakers guided the conversation, addressing topics ranging from the Civil Rights Campaign of the 1960s to the recent riots at the United States Capitol.
Moderated by Cynthia Tucker, a journalist from Alabama and Pulitzer Prize winner, many topics were discussed with a central theme of continuing to maintain equal justice for generations ahead with the unshakable influence of Dr. King as its driving force.
Present throughout the entire event was the message of establishing equal opportunity and justice for Americans of color and recognizing the clear lack of resources granted to underprivileged communities throughout the country.
The first speaker of the night, Minneisha Pettway, highlighted Dr. King’s impact on her life. She provided a powerful quote that captured the persistence of Civil Rights as it continues through our generation: “Move forward and never settle.”
Following Pettway, the second guest speaker, Gabrielle Daniels, gave a perspective and inquiry into misrepresentation for black inmates on death row in Alabama while describing the importance of adequate legal rights while incarcerated. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “People of color have accounted for a disproportionate 43% of total executions since 1976 and 55% of those currently awaiting execution.”
The goal of preventing unnecessary executions by the state of Alabama was a critical topic on her agenda, and it fits directly into the discussion as a whole.
At the end of the event, a dialogue was open to all guests in attendance, inviting a Question and Answer session that further developed an awareness for advancing Civil Rights in our time.
The conversation was an enlightening opportunity to better understand Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy and how it remains relevant almost 60 years later.
For more information on how to get involved in events hosted by the Office of Community Engagement, visit their website.
Photo courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine.