November 2015 Bar Bulletin
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November 2015 Bar Bulletin

MLK Luncheon To Feature King Confidant C.T. Vivian

By Karen Murray

 

The King County Bar Association is excited to announce that Dr. C.T. Vivian will be the keynote speaker for the 2016 Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon on Friday, January 15, from noon to 1:15 p.m. at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel.

Like his fellow civil rights predecessors (Andrew Young, Julian Young and Diane Nash), who have shared their personal and professional experiences in moving toward justice for all, so too will Dr. Vivian. In addition, he will discuss his personal journey as Dr. King's close friend and as one of his lieutenants during the Civil Rights Movement. In 1970, Dr. Vivian authored the first book written by a member of Dr. King's staff entitled Black Power and the American Myth.

Although it has been almost 70 years since Dr. Vivian participated in his first sit-in to bring attention to the unjust and dehumanizing effects of segregation, he continues to be at the forefront of current issues of equity and social justice, and ensuring that the gains made in the 1960s in the passing of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act are not further eroded.

Because of Dr. Vivian's ongoing activism in the arena of human and civil rights he has received numerous accolades and recognition. In November 2013, he was honored for his vision and leadership in the fight for justice when he was awarded the Nation's highest civilian honor - the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He is featured throughout the PBS-acclaimed documentary "Eyes on the Prize" (1987 & 2006). PBS later produced a full-length presentation, "The Healing Ministry of the Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian." He is also featured as an activist and analyst in the series "The People's Century" (PBS/WGBH, 1998), and in the Tom Brokaw documentary "King" (History Channel, 2008).

At this year's annual luncheon, Dr. Vivian will speak to us about why it was necessary "then" and why it's necessary "now" to move toward freedom at all costs and why so many young visionaries were willing to sacrifice the safety of their homes and college dormitories to face violence. He will also speak on how Dr. King's legacy continues to be part of the fabric of today's movements, and that the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and '60s was always a work in progress - that the gains made then were always fragile because they were interdependent on the political and economic climate at the time.

Realizing this very critical fact, Dr. Vivian in 2008 founded the C.T. Vivian Leadership Institute, Inc. to create a model leadership culture for the purpose of training and educating the new generation of grassroots leaders inspired to mobilize a constituency.

In celebration of Dr. King's legacy this event will be a true testimonial of why we come together annually to remember him and those who sacrificed to give us the choice to walk through doors of opportunities that were once closed so that we could realize our dreams.

 

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