By SOTG News Service
Ambassador Andrew Young encouraged the importance of bridging generational gaps and investing in the youth of this nation in a standing ovation-earning keynote address for Bone McAllester Norton PLLC.’s 16th annual MLK Fellowship Breakfast, honoring the life and legacy of Civil Rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The acclaimed leader and Civil Rights activist returned to Nashville to discuss his experiences during the Civil Rights movement and challenged attendees to continue the push towards spreading peace and justice throughout the world. The breakfasted event was hosted at the Music City Center, where more than 600 guests gathered to celebrate King.
Discussing topics ranging from the current political climate to the importance of practicing the principles that King made famous, Young was resolute in demanding that we not focus solely on what “our circles” say, but to reach “across the aisle” in whatever way that means (i.e., politics, socio-economic, sexual preference, etc.).
“The civil rights movement, if nothing else, taught America that it must not—should not—be judgmental of each other,” said Young. “There’s a hymn that says, ‘it’s not through swords loud clashing…nor roll of stirring drum…but through deeds of love and kindness…that the heavenly kingdom comes.’ And so this is a day of service, is a day bringing the kingdom into Nashville and Martin Luther King’s birthday reminds of that, but we cannot just do it on MLK’s birthday. We have to do it every day.”
A close colleague and friend of King, Young is a former two-term mayor of Atlanta, Georgia Congressman and U.N. Ambassador for the United States. A global statesman, he now chairs the Andrew Young Foundation and is a lifelong advocate of building collaborative partnerships across socioeconomic lines as well as using public policy to transform societies for the greater good.
Young spoke of his memories of coming to Nashville to learn from a movement led by student, church and civic activists – who were committed to changing the face of segregation. The milestones that were collectively achieved, across the south, paved the way for people like Rep. John Lewis (Georgia – D), Diane Nash, C.T. Vivian, Attnys. J. Alexander Looby, George Barrett, and R.B.J. Campbelle, Jr., as well as Young and countless others, to make an indelible mark on American culture.
“Nashville is a leading city and where I learned from student leaders during the civil rights movement,” said Young. “It was wonderful to be back in Music City to celebrate and honor my friend (Dr. King), as well as discuss our country’s current political landscape.”
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry welcomed Young to Nashville in a program that also featured musical performances by Nashville gospel artistsThe McCrary Sisters and Lawrence Thomison.
“Our city would not be where it is today without the vision, leadership, and desire of people who came together to create a country that adopted tolerance and acceptance,” said Barry, the first female Mayor of Nashville. “We need that desire now, more than ever. I attribute my success to those who came before me, like Ambassador Young, who paved the way for countless people to demand equal human rights and civil liberties in America.”
“We were honored to have Ambassador Young share his wealth of knowledge in pushing for a just society through his work with Dr. King, building a city or representing our country’s interests at an international level,” said Stacey Garrett Koju, founder and chairman of the board of directors for Bone. “The entire program – from the message to the music – was relevant, meaningful, and appropriate for us in multiple ways.”
See highlights from Ambassador Young’s address below: