The former Soviet president has worked with the legendary civil rights organization for years and will now expand his role to serve as international chair of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Nonviolence Conflict Initiative.What do Southern Christian Leadership Conference President Charles Steele and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev have in common?
As it turns out, both have a passion for social justice, equality, nonviolent conflict resolution and a deep-rooted admiration for Martin Luther King Jr., who was the co-founder and first president of the SCLC.
At a summit earlier this month celebrating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, Gorbachev accepted the SCLC’s offer to serve as international chairman of the SCLC’s Nonviolence Conflict Initiative.
It is a curious, but not unlikely, combination and a first step, Steele told The Root, toward achieving King’s final dream of “internationalizing” and “institutionalizing” the SCLC and the civil rights movement.
“It was April 4, 1968, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. met with my chairman of the board, Dr. Bernard LaFayette, and [told him] now is the time to internationalize and institutionalize SCLC and the civil rights movement,” said Steele. “That was five hours prior to Dr. King being assassinated. So in my vision, and what I’ve gotten from … my spiritual uplifting from God, is that we must fulfill that dream of Dr. King’s to internationalize and institutionalize the civil rights movement.”
Source: The Root | BREANNA EDWARDS