Students discuss civil rights on live television
The director of the Martin Luther King Leadership Program, the Rev. Dr. Forrest Pritchett, and two students discussed the progress of civil rights in America spanning the last 50 years on Jan. 18 on live TV.
Wallace Weaver, president of Seton Hall’s Martin Luther King Scholarship Association, Christian Powe, a senior member of the association, and Pritchett spoke on “EBRU Today” about the standards upheld by MLKSA, rap culture’s negative influence on public perception of African-Americans and the social improvements that still must be made 50 years after King’s death.
“I think it’s good that the conversation happened,” Weaver said. “It’s good that we’re talking about race relations as a country.”
EBRU TV is a national cable network founded in 2006 and headquartered in Somerset, N.J. It bills itself as a family-oriented network with viewers all over the United States and parts of Europe and Asia.
Pritchett said he had been invited to appear because he had remarked on the concurrence of President Obama’s inauguration and the annual commemoration of King’s legacy.
“It is now our responsibility to follow (King’s) model-which is the servant leadership of Jesus Christ-into the 21st century,” Pritchett said during the interview. “And we are so proud to be the burden-bearers of that legacy.”
In an interview after the broadcast, Powe said he and Weaver were not nervous about appearing on live TV because both of them had previous experience speaking publically on multiple media platforms. Powe was the first Seton Hall keynote speaker at the Black Student Union’s Black Solidarity Day in 2012, and Weaver has participated in political rallies.
“Wallace and I were really anxious because we had a lot to say and we didn’t know the interview was going to be that brief,” Powe said. “We have a lot to say about America, the world, and diplomatic issues. We keep an open mind that more opportunities will come.”
Powe and Weaver said they are working on a book about civil rights, foreign policy, economics and social issues in the United States.
“It is basically Christian and I representing the younger generation’s perspective on what it means to be an American,” Weaver said. “We cover what it means to say America is the greatest country on Earth, whether it is or not, and what it will take for us to be great again.”
As a Seton Hall faculty member for 35 years, Pritchett says he is proud of the University’s position as a promoter of civic engagement, a core element of King’s legacy.
Pritchett said that the international exposure stemming from the television appearance may help solidify Seton Hall’s global image, demonstrating how the university is relevant to molding the future.
“I like to expose MLK scholars to as many opportunities as possible for them to grow,” he said.
The association plans to hold a celebration in February that will focus on the role of women in the civil rights movement.
A video of the discussion that was aired on EBRU can be found on YouTube.
Francis Raso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.