In a year that has witnessed dramatic and challenging social upheaval, BB&N’s annual MLK Luncheon felt more prescient than ever this winter as more than 200 community members gathered virtually to celebrate the day that honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Organized by BB&N’s DEIG office (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Global Education), the program invited attendees to reflect on the legacy of Dr. King and the continued movement for social justice and civil rights.
The program opened with a presentation by BB&N DEIG practitioner and teacher Simone Miles Esteves highlighting five lesser know activists who contributed notably to the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s alongside Dr. King’s efforts:
- Georgia Gilmore, a leading activist and organizer in the Montgomery bus boycott
- Jo Ann Robinson, president of the Women’s Political Council
- Hosea Williams, a leader in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference whom Dr. King considered his “chief field lieutenant”
- Bayard Rustin, an integral leader who helped organize the March on Washington among other initiatives
- Fannie Lou Hamer, an inspirational orator who was an early advocate for the right to vote
The program then segued to an impressive slate of guest speakers including BB&N alumna Rachael Rollins ’89, District Attorney of Suffolk County. Speaking via Zoom, Rollins expressed her hope for continued headway in social justice: “We need different people at the table. I’m on team justice, team change, team transparency, and team progress.”
Participants then shifted to virtual break out rooms, where the guest speakers helped facilitate conversation around the topics of the event.
Other guest speakers included:
- Darrin Korte, Executive Director of the Cambridge Community Center
- Dr. Ivory Toldson, President and CEO of Quality Education for Minorities
- E.S. Sulakshana ’13, Energy Finance Campaigner for the Rainforest Action Network
- Tammy Tai, Deputy Director of King Boston
- David Min ’22, President and Founder of Boston COVID Tutoring
- Graham Bateman ’23, Vice President of Boston COVID Tutoring