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CNN Analyst Bakari Sellers Urges Audience to ‘Journey to Excellence.’

Image associated with the CNN Analyst Bakari Sellers Urges Audience to ‘Journey to Excellence.’ news item

Author: Hazel Scott

Release Date: Feb 07, 2018

Bakari Sellers, legal analyst for CNN, was the speaker for the ASU's Black History Month Opening Convocation.

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Alabama State University’s Black History Month Opening Convocation speaker Bakari Sellers asked two questions of the audience: the first is "how far have we come?" and the second is "where do we go from here?”

Those two questions were the basis of his speech Tuesday, Feb. 6, before a packed audience of students, faculty, staff and other members of the ASU community.

Sellers, a CNN top legal analyst, attorney, activist and former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives who became the youngest African-American elected official in the United States in 2006, encouraged audience members to strive for academic and political excellence as individuals and communities.

“Yes we’ve made progress, but now it’s about recognizing that we’ve still got a ways to go,” Sellers said. “That’s when you see more change.”

Referencing the historical Elmore v. Rice case, which allowed blacks to vote in  theDemocratic primary in South Carolina; the difficulties his father, civil rights activist Cleveland Sellers, faced; the 1955 story of a black domestic worker, Sara Mae Flemming; and the 1949 landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, he further encouraged students to consider both how far the nation has come in achieving racial equality and the progress that remains.

“The answer to where to do we go from here is for us to have the ability to do two things,” Sellers said.

“The first is we have to learn to dream with our eyes open," said Sellers. “The second is damn hard … we have to learn to rededicate ourselves and learn to love our neighbors even when they don’t love us.”

Sellers said when you dream with your eyes open, you seek nothing less than excellence. He gave an example from his own life, when he made history with his election in 2006.

“We stand on the shoulders of countless heroes who deserve from us to continue Dr. King’s journey on the race to excellence.”

ASU student James Baldwin, a senior majoring in social work, said Seller’s message was inspiring.

“I loved the history aspect of his speech,” Baldwin said.  “He showed me just how much more I could be doing.”

ASU junior accounting major Devin Smith agreed.

“Mr. Sellers’s speech was impressive. He showed me how activism has served to shine a light on issues not being highlighted.”

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