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Rainbow PUSH Coalition Honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

1/17/2018, noon | Updated on 1/17/2018, noon
Recently, Stevenson successfully won an historic ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional.
Bryan Stevenson

Rainbow PUSH Coalition Honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By Christopher Shuttlesworth

In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday which is observed on the third Monday of January each year, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) celebrated its PUSH Excel 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Scholarship Breakfast, which included notable leaders like the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., the Rev. Janette C. Wilson, Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and Dr. Ali Malekzadeh, president of Roosevelt University.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., served as the leader of the modern American Civil Rights Movement, from Dec. 1955 until April 4, 1968, and used powerful messages and nonviolent resistance including protests and marches, grassroots

organizing and civil disobedience to combat racial inequality. King is also historically known for conducting the 1963 “March on Washington,” which

drew over a quarter-million people to the national mall in Washington D.C. to hear his “I Have A Dream” speech.

Speakers at the PUSH Excel Breakfast included Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, who has dedicated his career, as a public interest lawyer, to helping the poor, incarcerated and the condemned.

Recently, Stevenson successfully won an historic ruling that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are unconstitutional. Dr. Ali Malekzadeh, president of Roosevelt University (2015) said he was honored to be associated with Dr. King, and appreciated the invitation from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition to continue to celebrate a diverse nation.

“Today, we are living in a diverse nation and Dr. King’s legacy was to appreciate and remind us of the importance of diversity in our nation, especially in the African American population, and the more we appreciate, honor and recognize this, and then we’llbe a better nation going forward,” he said.

Under Malekzadeh’s leadership since 2015, Roosevelt University has expanded services for veterans and students with disabilities and established new programs for multicultural students.

Malekzadeh also worked to build the Outreach, Advocacy, Social Justice, Information and Safety (OASIS) Committee, which serves as an on-campus

advocacy group for just and non-discriminatory policies, including supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, according to roosevelt.edu.

“For me, it’s a very personal matter and the conviction that I have is that diversity and inclusion should be the number one priority for all of our universities and organizations,” Malekzadeh said.

In 1957, Dr. King was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He served on the board until his assassination in 1968, according to thekingcenter.org. Rainbow PUSH continues to serve as an anchor for social change and equality for all under the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., who is one of the few surviving activists who served on Dr. King’s staff and fought for civil rights for all people, side-by-side with King.

For more information, visit www.pushexel.org or http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-dr-king.