NAACP chairman to address King Convocation Jan. 30

Julian Bond

Julian Bond, chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, will speak at UC Santa Cruz's 24th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Convocation January 30.

Held at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, the convocation will begin at 7 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the campus celebration of Black History Month. Organizers expect 900 to 1,000 attendees.

This year marks the first time the event has been planned without the involvement of the late Tony Hill, the prominent community activist who died of a heart attack in August. He was 62.

Hill was well known as a consultant and advocate in race relations, economic development, and diversity issues. He also touched the lives of many as a mentor, inspirational leader, and gifted mediator.

Hill's presence during the planning phases of the event was sorely missed, but his "incredible collaborative spirit was in the room at our first committee meeting, guiding our selection of this year's keynote speaker," said Catherine Faris, assistant vice chancellor, University Relations. "We plan to honor Tony this year, just as we honor Dr. King's life and work on an international level, as a bridge-builder in our own community."

Bond will speak on the topic "Civil Rights, Then and Now."

As an activist who has faced jail for his convictions, a veteran of the Georgia General Assembly, a university professor, and a writer, Bond has been on the cutting edge of social change since 1960.

While a student at Morehouse College more than 40 years ago, he founded the Atlanta student sit-in and anti-segregation organization, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Elected in 1965 to the Georgia House of Representatives, Bond was prevented from taking his seat by members who objected to his opposition to the Vietnam War. He was reelected to his own vacant seat and unseated again, and reseated only after a third election and a unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court.

In 2002, he received the prestigious National Freedom Award.

He is a Distinguished Professor at American University in Washington, D.C., and serves as professor of history at the University of Virginia.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Convocation was established during Robert Sinsheimer's tenure as chancellor. In addition to UCSC, the 2008 convocation is sponsored by the Good Times, KUSP, the Santa Cruz branch of the NAACP, Inner Light Ministries, and the African American Student Life Resource and Cultural Center.