Boston City Councilor-At-Large Ayanna Pressley talks with Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Sylvia Spears at the Community Leaders Breakfast Wednesday, January 20. Photo/Nick Eaton '17
Boston City Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley called for action, empathy, and inclusion in a speech to Emerson College and community leaders this week.
Pressley was the keynote speaker at the Third Annual Martin Luther King Community Leaders Breakfast, held January 20 in the Bordy Theater and Auditorium, and sponsored by the College’s Elma Lewis Center for Civic Engagement, Learning, and Research. The event was part of Emerson’s weeklong celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy.
“To everyone in this room, activism doesn’t have an eligibility age or a shelf life,” Pressley told participants.
“There is space at the table of nation-building for everyone: academics, agitators, activists, reformers, revolutionaries, and disruptors. We need you,” she said.
Pressley reminded the crowd that King made people “uncomfortable” because he challenged people to disrupt the status quo.
“I believe Dr. King was both a reformer and a revolutionary,” she said.
Attendees were invited to contribute to a timeline of activism and social change, sharing their past experiences and hopes for the future.
Among those leaders joining Pressley at the breakfast were Sarah-Ann Shaw, former WBZ-TV reporter, the first African American to report on-air in Boston, and a student of Elma Lewis ’43; MassVOTE Executive Director Cheryl Clyburn Crawford; Emerson President Lee Pelton; and Emerson Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Sylvia Spears.