Milestone Moments: Words of Wisdom from Dr. Dorothy Cotton!

Published on April 29, 2021 | Written by

Dorothy Cotton worked alongside SCLC leaders including Hosea Williams, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, James Bevel and Bernard Lafayette. (Dorothy Cotton Institute)

As Youthprise continues to celebrate our 10th Anniversary, we wanted to take another trip down memory lane. Last month we took a moment to remember our incredible beginnings. This month, we wanted to reflect on our experience with a civil rights icon!

Throughout history, young people, armed with vision, purpose, and knowledge, have been pioneers in efforts for social justice and systemic change. Nine years ago, we used that idea for inspiration and our own larger strategy to improve systems that develop the leadership capacity of African-American youth, when we partnered with Cultural Wellness Center and Sabathani Community Center to host a Black History Month Community Forum on February 23, 2012, featuring legendary Civil Rights activist Dr. Dorothy Cotton. Dr. Cotton was the former Education Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and a member of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s inner circle. She was one of the most highly respected women in the Civil Rights movement.

On February 23, 2012, over 300 people – youth, community leaders, businesspersons, educators, and others – gathered at the Sabathani Community Center in Minneapolis to attend a Community Forum in honor of Black History Month. As a long-time advocate for youth empowerment, Dr. Cotton used her signature blend of artistry, wit, candor, and wisdom to communicate the importance of mobilizing youth to transform society and systems. We are truly honored to have hosted such an incredible icon, and we are continually inspired by her words, even to this day.

Over the years, Youthprise has seen first hand the growing passion young people have for social justice and the power they hold when they unite for systemic change! And though the problems have changed, we are constantly reminded of how fierce and relentless young people can be in the fight for justice.

To learn more about our “New Generation of Equity,” and how Youthprise will continues to advocate for youth leadership you can, click here.

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