It was an inspiring and thought-provoking week for our Citizenship Tour students. On Thursday, the group had their final round of speaker meetings with Dr. Michael Lomax, President and CEO of United Negro College Fund, and Keith Wofford, an SEA Board Member and Partner at global law firm White & Case.
UNCF is the nation’s largest private provider of scholarships and other educational support to African American students and Dr. Lomax has served as its leader since 2004. Previously, Lomax was president of Dillard University in New Orleans, a literature professor at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, and served as chairman of the Fulton County Commission in Atlanta, the first African American elected to that post.
The son of a journalist and a lawyer, Lomax spoke to our group about growing up during the civil rights movement in Los Angeles and Atlanta, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, and more. “I’ve been a witness to history and on occasion been involved in making history,” Lomax reflected.
Lomax encouraged our students to remain active in their communities. “We all have a responsibility to be civically engaged. We get the democracy that we create.”
Our final conversation of the Tour was with Keith Wofford. Wofford grew up in Buffalo, NY, has practiced law for more than 25 years, and is currently partner of global law firm White & Case’s Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Practice in New York. Wofford serves as a member of SEA’s Board of Directors and the New York Historical Society. In 2018, Wofford ran for NY Attorney General.
Wofford spoke with our group about his upbringing in Buffalo, his experiences as an attorney, and his perspectives on such topics such as education and criminal justice reform.
Wofford also offered some advice to our students. “Don’t be afraid to have a position because it’s unpopular,” and “You’ve got to figure out how to be bad at something long enough to get good at it,” he said.