Civil rights activist, commentator will speak to virtual student, community events
KOKOMO, Ind. – Civil rights activist, author, and CNN commentator Bakari Sellers will serve as the keynote speaker for Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo’s 17th annual “Doing the Dream” programs honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sellers will speak at the event’s annual student convocation and community banquet Jan. 29; all activities will be presented virtually.
“Our format has changed this year, moving to virtual presentations so we can reach as many people as possible while responding to the challenges posed by COVID-19,” said Ivy Tech Kokomo Chancellor Dean McCurdy. “We remain proud and excited to continue our ‘Doing the Dream’ tradition by bringing to the Hoosier state a dynamic figure with growing recognition on the national stage.”
Considered by many to be a man who represents a new generation of leadership, Sellers first made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent state representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. He now practices law in Columbia, S.C., and is a political commentator at CNN. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Dr. Cleveland Sellers, with a tireless commitment to championing progressive policies to address national issues. His first book, “My Vanishing Country,” was released earlier this year and is a New York Times Bestseller.
“Doing the Dream 2021” will include a student convocation open to high school and college students in the morning, the second annual Ivy Tech Student Diversity Conference in the afternoon, and the community “banquet” that evening.
Members of the community are invited to join in the evening presentation, a virtual community conversation with the distinguished speaker.
“Since we can’t break bread with you this year at our traditional in-person banquet, let’s all gather virtually as we share food for thought and appetizers of inspiration,” McCurdy said in an invitation to community leaders and volunteers, government officials, church members, and anyone interested in the future of American society. Sellers is expected to talk about the importance of expanding opportunity for success to young black people through education at Ivy Tech, from recruitment through retention to completion, and how the entire community is needed to make this happen.
Access to the Zoom event is available for $10; all proceeds from the event go to Ivy Tech Kokomo’s “Doing the Dream” diversity scholarship program. When registering, guests will have the opportunity to donate more to the scholarship fund. More information and a link to the reservations site can be found here: ivytech.edu/doingthedream .
Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) is serving as lead sponsor to support participation by a noted speaker for the “Doing the Dream” celebration. Other sponsors include Community Howard Regional Health, Duke Energy, FCA/Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, GPS Speakers and Events, Haynes International, Howard County government, the Kokomo Perspective, Security Federal Savings Bank, and Symposium.
Earlier that day, at 10:30 a.m., Sellers will speak at the free student convocation, which, for interested Ivy Tech students, will kick off the Ivy Tech Statewide Student Diversity Conference, all being offered via Zoom. In his keynote presentation, he will share his understanding of the challenges of race and economic and social status in America. He will weave the issues of diversity, equity, and belonging into a conversation about what they mean to high school and college students and talk about the importance of getting an education and making a difference in the world. As “Doing the Dream” seeks to honor the legacy Dr. King’s legacy of peace and social justice, he will talk about his personal commitment to these goals.
For information about the student convocation, after Jan. 4, contact Allison Toren, General Studies program chair, at email@example.com or 765-252-5518 or Dani McQuaide, director of Student Life, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 765-252-5493.
“Since 2005, Ivy Tech Kokomo’s ‘Doing the Dream: A Cultural Celebration’ has been an annual event for the community and local students designed to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity as expressed by Dr. King’s vision of peace, service, and unity,” McCurdy said. In the last 16 years, more than 27,000 people – school children, high school and college students, teachers and faculty members, religious and civic leaders, and community members – have participated in “Doing the Dream” activities.