MLK Speaker At Texas A&M: Keep Dr. King’s Memory And Work Alive
Praising the memory of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., speaker Maya Wiley commented on racial injustice in recent years and noted the importance of social media in many confrontational situations, especially with law enforcement.
Her remarks were made during the 12th Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast held at Texas A&M University.
“Dr. King was a visionary who was able to unite black people like no one before him or since him,” said Wiley, who is the senior vice president for social justice at the New School and the Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Management at the New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management & Policy.
“He believed that if you really wanted change, you had to work for it. He brought about immense changes. Even today, the civil rights movement of the 1950s-60s is called the Second Reconstruction.”
Wiley has held several positions in New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, including chief legal counselor. She was in charge of the mayor’s commitment to expanding affordable broadband access across New York City, advanced civil rights and gender equity and increasing the effectiveness of the city’s support for minority and women-owned businesses. She holds a law degree from Columbia University and currently lives in Brooklyn.
Wiley said she grew up in an activist family and that both her mother and father encouraged their children to be involved in issues of the day.
“Our family time was spent discussing social problems and what was going on in New York and other places,” she said.
“I was taught that we are all political actors shaped by our own experiences. I saw how black people were treated. It affected me deeply. Sometimes, your own experiences are the best lessons learned.”
Commenting on questions posed by moderator Leroy Dorsey, associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M, Wiley said that social media can be an invaluable tool in shaping public perception.
“Social media can be a very forceful tool but it must be used correctly,” she said.
“With social media, you have the ability to record and document injustices as they are happening. If used in the right way, social media can bring about changes we need.”
The event was sponsored by the MSC Carter G. Woodson Black Awareness Committee and serves to reflect on the life, legacy and accomplishments of Dr. King and to make his legacy relevant for the university and its students.