Responsible Citizenship – Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month draws record crowd
Speeches from a nationally renowned television judge and a former U.S. ambassador highlighted the eighth annual Leadership Conference Celebrating Black History Month at Troy University, Feb. 6-7.
Judge Greg Mathis, star of the nationally syndicated Judge Mathis television show, and former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young addressed a record crowd of more than 700 participants at the two-day event, co-sponsored by the University and the City of Troy. The theme of this year’s conference was “Responsible Citizenship.”
Mathis, who addressed the gathering on the conference’s opening night, said the election of Barak Obama is proof that blacks and whites can work together. That same spirit of unity, he said, is needed to build a society that is “not about black and white, but about what’s right or wrong.”
“Unity is more powerful than any of the other weapons used during the Civil Rights Movement, including the Molotov cocktails thrown by some of the radicals,” Mathis told the gathering. “If the door of opportunity is closed to you, then kick it in. Don’t teach our young men and women to fear society, teach them to face their obstacles.”
Young, who marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and later served as a U.S. Congressman, Mayor of Atlanta and Ambassador to the United Nations, was the speaker for the conference’s closing luncheon.
“Our problems today are not black and white problems,” Young said. “They are much bigger than that.”
Young said the Obama Administration faces a litany of global challenges such as dealing with the emergence of China as a world power, the situation in the Middle East and nations in Africa and Latin America that are too poor to take advantage of the global economy.
He urged the conference participants to support the president, evoking the words of Dr. King: “We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools.”
The conference annually brings together civic and community leaders, clergymen and business leaders in a collaborative and educational forum. In addition to keynote speakers, the conference features a variety of workshops that are central to the conference’s theme.
This year’s event boasted the largest crowd in its history, drawing more than 750 registrants.