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CNN’s Bakari Sellers Inspires, Reflects at MLK Jr. Commemorative Symposium

By Brittany N. Gaddy

Spectrum Staff Writer  

CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers inspired the audience during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Symposium at Bowie State University on April 4 with a message of reflection and encouragement on the 50th anniversary of King’s death.

Sellers invited the audience to “take a journey to excellence” and to answer the questions “How far have we come?” and “Where do we go from here?”  He said, “They are necessary to answer as we navigate this journey to excellence.”

To answer the first question, “How far have we come?”, Sellers highlighted past civil rights activists such as George A. Elmore, Harry and Eliza Briggs and Sarah Mae Flemming.  He said that they paved the way for African-Americans today.

“I have come to the resolve that...we’ve made progress, but we still have yet a ways to go,” Sellers said.

To answer the second question, “Where do we go from here?”, he said that it “relies fundamentally in the ability for us to do two things.”  First, according to Sellers, “You have to rededicate yourself to the proposition of loving your neighbor even when they don’t love you.”  Second, he said, “You have to dream with [your] eyes open.”  He told the audience that this is “something that Dr. King wanted us to do because I think that we shouldn’t just dream in vain.”  Referring to King, Sellers said, “He wanted us to give life to it.”

When excellence is achieved, Sellers said, “Your name may not be in lights, you may not be wealthy...but all of those people who gave so much even on a day like today...you can hear the voice of those angels like Dr. King simply say, ‘job well done.’”

After his speech, Sellers received a standing ovation from the audience, which included students and staff.

Before Sellers was called to the stage, an introductory video displayed some of the changes that he wants to see in government and in the world, which include equal access and the creation of justice.

Bowie State President Dr. Aminta H. Breaux delivered the welcome and thanked the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of History and Government and the Student Government Association for hosting the event.  She also charged the audience to “live out the legacy of Dr. King each and every day in what you do in your actions and in your deeds.”