Remembering Julian Bond: A champion for civil rights and civic leadership


oung person early in my career, I was eager to tell him of all things I was doing and how I wanted to be CEO of a healthcare company. Anyway, after listening to me blabber on about myself, he gave me an endearing look and said, with a smooth, but passionate voice, "Well, I hope that you consider using your leadership talents for civic service." That one interaction helped set me on a career and leadership course for which I will be forever grateful. I was so moved by the presence of this man that I began reading his books and learning more about his legacy and following his still active career. I am in no way the leader that Julian Bond was, but what his example has shown me is that we as a people can use our passions, skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to implement CHANGE and improve the quality of life in our communities. This is why I believe service in organizations like NOBCChE is so critical. Bond would have had a successful career no matter what path he chose. He was handsome, charismatic, intelligent, eloquent and creative. He could have easily used all those traits to only build success at a major corporation or law firm, but he chose to make civic service an integral part of that success. He was a state congressman and senator in Georgia for over 20 years, he co-founded the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, founded the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization, was the first African-American to be nominated as a vice-presidential candidate and led the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People as its chairman for a decade—all while building a distinguished career as a lecturer, commentator, professor, essayist and poet.

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