Angela Rye, CEO of IMPACT Strategies and political commentator and analyst for CNN and NPR, will be the keynote speaker at William & Mary’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration program. The event, which is hosted by the Center for Student Diversity, will be held on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Sadler Center’s Commonwealth Auditorium.
The event is free and open to the public, and the topic of discussion will be how Americans can build on King’s philosophy of a “beloved community” in a post-Obama era, said Veron J. Hurte, senior associate dean of students and director of the Center for Student Diversity.
“Last year’s presidential election shined the light on the sad reality that we are still far away from realizing the ‘beloved community’ that Dr. King advocated,” said Hurte. “As a nation, we are in need of healing. It is my hope that this event will be a part of that process. It will allow for some honest reflection and dialogue about where we are as a country. And what we need to do as a community to get our nation to the place where we truly become a society where everyone feels a sense of belonging and can experience ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’”
In addition to being a political strategist, Rye offers on-air commentary for news and cable television networks such as BET, HBO, and Huffington Post Live. She has also written articles for the daily news site The Root and MSNBC. Rye currently serves on the boards of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network, and serves as a senior advisor to the Government Technology and Services Coalition.
Organizers of the event feel that the commemoration will be an excellent opportunity to show members of the community a more intricate side of King’s thinking regarding equal sociopolitical opportunities for all citizens of the United States.
“I believe this event will help attendees gain a deeper and more complex view of King’s work and impact,” said Hurte. “Dr. King was a man of faith and love for his country who committed his life to challenging the status quo, being a voice for those who felt voiceless, while also consistently communicating hope that the ideal, that 'beloved community,' could and would one day be reached.”
Past speakers for the annual event have included MSNBC commentator Melissa Harris-Perry, political activist and scholar Cornel West, Lamont Hill of BET News and noted economist, Julianne Malveaux.