Campus News

Former U.N. ambassador: Civil rights movement is now in corporate America

Former Atlanta Mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young emphasized the need to continue fighting for social justice as he delivered the keynote address recently at the inaugural Image Awards held by the UGA chapter of the NAACP.

“Corporate America: That’s where the civil rights movement is now. We integrated the schools. We tried to integrate politics. Now, we’ve got to integrate the money,” he said.

“Now I almost think that more significant around the world than the races, colors and religions, is the difficulty between the have and the have-nots,” he said. “And if we don’t find a way to share the blessings with the least of God’s children, it doesn’t matter how blessed we are. If all of God’s children don’t share in those blessings, they will find a way to mess it up for the rest of us.”

Georgia, he said, is making strides to provide equal opportunities for social justice, which is central to the mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. His speech, “Finding Strength in the Struggle: Saluting Our Shining Stars,” emphasized that work for social justice is a continuation of the work done by civil rights pioneers.

“Surprisingly enough, Georgia is the only state that has something like a HOPE Scholarship. It’s the only state in America where any kid from anywhere who’s got a B average and a 1000 on the SAT can go to college,” he said.

“Something special is happening here, and you are part of that struggle. How you define it in your life, how you meet that challenge, I don’t know. But I know you will,” he said.

Young, who received an honorary degree from UGA in 1996, said he was honored to speak at the Image Awards, the first for the UGA chapter of the NAACP, which is ranked second in the nation. The awards recognize UGA individuals and organizations that strive for social justice. The NAACP handed out 11 awards to students, faculty and organizations, and several internal awards that recognized work done by its members.

The Black Theater Ensemble won for Outstanding Cultural Performance; the One Campaign won the Establishing Social Justice Award; the Outstanding Community Service Award went to the Graduate and Professional Scholars; and Delta Sigma Theta Inc. won the Outstanding Organization Award.

Dyonne Butler won the Adviser Award and Dawn Bennett-Alexander, an associate professor of legal studies, won the Outstanding Faculty/Staff Advocate Award. Among students, the Outstanding Social Justice Research Award went to Tiffany Ahoulo; Claudia Caycho won the award for Outstanding Social Justice Advocate; Desiree Dawson received the Academic Award; and Erin Mahone won the Outstanding Campus Leader Award. Hill First Baptist Church and Hancock Community Development Corporation-Advocacy were co-recipients of the Outstanding Community Advocacy Group Award.