Updated: Sep 4, 2019
By Shayler Richmond
CNN Commentator, Keith Boykin sits down with Shayler Richmond during a visit to Eastern Michigan University on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2019.
Many of his years spent in politics and media. New York times best-selling-author, and currently a political analyst and professor at Columbia University.
Present day it is still revolutionary that two black men can talk about politics in America and it hold weight.
"I think traditionally our voices have been excluded, so not only are our voices becoming more included, we're starting to assert ourselves more," said Boykin.
In his 2019 speech to students, faculty and staff at Eastern Michigan University Student Center Auditorium honoring and celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boykin discussed the innate power we have as individuals to influence change when activated, and how individual problems are in reality collective burdens, which he later unpacked further.
"I think that in order to create change you have to do it where you are, and get in where you fit in. If you're on a college campus then get engaged on a college campus. If you're in a working professional setting then get engaged there," said Boykin. "Change is something that happens not just on the global scale with people organizing mass events or passing laws, but it happens in one on one conversation.
The growing amount of agency of marginalized identities brings to question the effectiveness of leaders with marginalized identities. Boykin discussed the strategies of Barack Obama and Dr. King, however the plethora of rising, current, and former leaders all have strategies, which have been affective in their own distinctive ways.
"In someways we have moved backwards over the last couple of years," said Boykin. "I think this has been an eye opening experience for some and people are realizing change doesn't happen inevitably. We have to keep pushing for change to happen. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they turn," he continued.
Boykin has experienced, studied and wrote about the intersectionality of race and LGBTQIA identities while unpacking oppression and challenging readers and viewers to think critically and develop their own understanding, largely through noticing the similar tactics used to detour racial equality have also been used to undermine gay rights.
"Some times the pendulum swings one way then it swings back the other way," said Boykin. "I think people are starting to realize the consequences of inaction or just assuming that action is going to take place." He placed emphasis on his hope and the need for the younger generations who have traditionally supported progressive change to lead.
He encouraged young leaders is to be politically engaged.
"Know your power, use your power and leverage your power to achieve whatever your goals are at the moment," said Boykin.
Boykin has a new project in the works. He is producing and starring in a television series. This one-hour drama is in the early stages of development, potentially slated for release next year. Stay tuned for updates.