On May 31, the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Clark Atlanta University announced the official launch of the NCBCP Thomas W. Dortch Jr., Institute for Leadership, Civic Engagement, Economic Empowerment & Social Justice.
The institute will provide internships, graduate assistantships, and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students at CAU and other HBCUs in the South.
Melanie Campbell, the president and CEO of the NCBCP, spoke to other distinguished leaders and media about the importance of the institute and continuing the legacy that the late Dortch started with his community leadership.
“This place will be focused on research, but also giving young people and leaders an opportunity to experiment to have organizers and leaders come together,” Campbell said. “We want this place to be jumping all the time. Tommy Dortch Jr., who was my mentor for 40 years and chaired our board, is a staple not just in Atlanta, but across this nation. We named this after him and I feel his spirit here. We named it after Tommy because he represented our four pillars. When you think about his work, he chaired our board, and he also chaired the 100 Black Men of America. He also helped support elected officials, he worked in the public sector and private sector, but he gave to the community and mentored not just young boys, but young girls as well.”
Dr. George T. French Jr., the president of Clark Atlanta University, served as a host for the launch and spoke about how this initiative can bring the community together.
“At Clark Atlanta University, we are eager to make sure that this initiative is successful,” Dr. French said. “The South has a rich tradition of civil rights activism, and it’s crucial that we continue to build upon that legacy by nurturing and developing the next generation of leaders. We must prepare them to be not just leaders, but organizers.”
“We’ll be tackling tough issues. We’ll talk about social justice as a broad term, but it has to do with what’s happening with gun violence and gun safety in our communities,” Campbell said. “We have folks who are from law enforcement to those who are protesting law enforcers. We have leaders from the civil rights community, from the business community coming together from all across everywhere. If you believe in the power of coalition and the power of togetherness, we have folks who are not Black, who are going to come. We believe in multi-racial, multi-ethnic organizing, as well. We’re excited about it.”