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Emerging Leaders Committee hosts dialogue in honor of Dr. King

Panel tackles topics of concern for the next generation

Juliana Norwood | 1/16/2014, 4:22 p.m.

The Emerging Leaders Committee of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California is a collective of young professionals, religious leaders and community activists focused on embodying Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of “reversing the default on the promissory note” by ensuring every American’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by advancing economic empowerment, higher education, and civic engagement.

On Tuesday evening, the organization hosted a panel discussion entitled “A Unity Dialogue… The Dream Continues” at West Angeles Performing Arts Center, 3038 S. Crenshaw Blvd., L.A.

The panel was made up of a distinguished group of African American professionals including Hollywood film director and founder of the Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance, Omar McGee; actor and choreographer, Darren Dewitt Henson; community activist and pastor of Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. K.W. Tulloss, Vice Mayor of Pasadena, Jacque Robinson; reality television personality, Rev. Omarosa Manigault; and National Manager of Corporate Services at American Honda Motor Company, Charles Franklin.

The moderator for the panel discussion was The Bold and the Beautiful actress Taja V. Simpson.

Panelists were asked to discuss a wide range of topics including, but not limited to, social activism, economic empowerment and issues unique to the millennial generation. The focused questions of the night, “What does the realization of Dr. King’s dream look like, and what can we do NOW, to bring us toward that end?”

“The realization of the dream looks like Black Wall Street; it looks like Tulsa, Oklahoma,” said Henson. “We would have our own businesses, our own banks, our own schools…we get there by asking the question, ‘What would I do if I could not lose?’ and doing that now and everyday. We have to take action in our communities, keep a focus on education and heal our wealth wounds through investing,” he said passionately.

“We need to get back to the basics and relearn how to love each other,” said Franklin. “We need to show the youth that you don’t have to be Lebron James to be successful, and more of our doctors, lawyers and other professionals need to stick around in our communities and be an example of what success looks like.”

Calling it the “great equalizer” every panelist stated that a focus on education was principal to the success of the new generation and that working together as a community is the best way to improve the conditions of that community.

The evening closed with a prayer and a promise to work until America “makes good on the bad check” written to African Americans, and a hope that in the next 50 years, we will finally see the realization of a dream.