Modern-day Civil Rights Leaders: Michael Skolnik
King gave us the blueprint. King gave us the roadmap. King gave us the power to believe. To believe that in our life-time, we will reach the mountaintop. As young people, we look to King and his peers as a source of knowledge and wisdom, but we know that we hold the torch now, and it is our job to keep it lit.What do you see as the future of the civil rights movement in 2014 and beyond?
I believe the future of the civil rights movement is a combustion of traditional organizing and online creativity. America sees the most advancements in social justice when communication changes radically, and we have seen that the past few years. With the emergence of the internet and social media as tools of organizing and amplification, we must master the balance between our online presence and our presence on the streets. We have more power today, as people, than we have ever had, and it is our job to use that power to uplift all people around the world.
Who do you think is the most influential and inspiring civil rights leader working today?
I am moved by the courage and humility of the parents of children who have been killed by gun violence. People like Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, the parents of Trayvon Martin, or Ron Davis and Luci McBath, the parents of Jordan Davis, or Nelba Marquez-Greene and Jimmy Greene, the parents of Ana Marquez-Greene. These are the Americans who will make our country better. In their spirit, I am also deeply inspired by young people like Phillip Agnew and The Dream Defenders, who are 21st-century civil rights leaders, challenging the establishment to listen to new voices in the movement.