Bakari Sellers: NCU Commencement Speech 2017
Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation. His political career did not stop there. In 2014, Sellers won the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor in South Carolina, and has also worked for United States Congressman James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin. He is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and leading voice for his generation.
Sellers was born into an activist family. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Dr. Cleveland Sellers, in his tireless commitment to public service while championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity. Sellers earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina.
Sellers is the author of The New York Times best-selling book My Vanishing Country: A Memoir, which has been described as part memoir, part historical and cultural analysis – illustrating the lives of America’s forgotten black working-class men and women. He has also expanded his audience with the Bakari Sellers Podcast, a twice-a-week show part of The Ringer Podcast Network that addresses a variety of topics from politics, race, sports, media, the presidential campaign, and much more.
Sellers currently practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, where he heads the firm’s strategic communication and public affairs team and has recently added diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting to the list of services offered. He is also a prominent political contributor for CNN.
In addition to his impressive list of early accomplishments, Sellers served on President Barack Obama's South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election. That coupled with his uncommon ability to reach across the aisle and get things done has led to numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s “40 Under 40” in 2010 as well as 2014’s “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans. Sellers has been a much sought after public speaker and has provided political and social commentary and analysis on many major national news outlets.
He has served as a featured speaker at events for the National Education Association, College Democrats of America National Convention, NAACP, the 2008 Democratic National Convention and, in 2007, delivered the opening keynote address to the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
Sellers is married to his wife Dr. Ellen Rucker-Sellers and father to twins Sadie and Stokely.
A Look Down the Political Pipeline.
Formerly one of the youngest African American elected official and currently a rising voice for the Democratic party, Bakari Sellers breaks down the day’s top issues and offers candid commentary on the present political landscape. Addressing issues such as immigration, trade, and national security on major news outlets, Sellers analyzes the effect the current Administration’s had on various policy positions within our country. He also speaks to the evolution of the Democratic party, outlining potential avenues for growth post-election. An extremely passionate speaker, Sellers leaves audiences both informed and uplifted.
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