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February Lunch & Learn

  • Center for Civic Innovation 115 Martin Luther King Junior Drive Southwest Atlanta, GA, 30303 United States (map)
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Grab your lunch and join us on Friday, February 15th at 11:30 a.m. for our first Lunch and Learn of 2019.

This month, we're focusing on Movement Building - examining our past to build for our future. Please join us in welcoming two absolute rockstars for our February Lunch and Learn: Dr. Laura Emiko Soltis and Charles A. Black.Dr. Laura Emiko Soltis serves as the Executive Director of Freedom University, a modern-day freedom school for undocumented youth banned from equal access to public higher education in Georgia. She'll be joined by Freedom University board member, Charles A. Black, who was the chairman of The Atlanta Student Movement, the 1960’s Civil Rights Organization. Charles was one of only eight students taught by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at Morehouse. Charles was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for a Lifetime of Community Service by President Barack Obama in 2016.

Lunch & Learn's are FREE for all of our members - just enter your membership code under "enter promotional code" for access to your free ticket. 

Atlanta is filled with incredible people who dedicate their lives to public service. Their stories are inspiring, and we created Lunch and Learns to hear the journeys of the people who are doing the on the ground work. Join us for an unmoderated, informal conversation - we're looking forward to having you at the table.


About the Speakers

Charles A. Black

A native of Miami, Florida, Charles is an alumnus of Morehouse College, where he was a member of the varsity debate team, editor of the college newspaper, president of the senior class, and chairman of The Atlanta Student Movement (1960’s Civil Rights organization). Charles was one of only eight students taught by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Morehouse.

Charles is a veteran actor in various media, Chairman of the Board of Illien Adoptions International, Inc., a member of the board of Freedom University, a member and Past Chairman of the board of Hammonds House Museum, past Editor of The Atlanta Inquirer Newspaper, Inc. and past CEO of a national consulting firm Frontiers Unlimited, Inc. He has also been an advisor and manager of numerous civic and political campaigns.

He regularly mentors younger generations of community and political activists. And, is in demand as a speaker or panelist on matters of Civil and Human Rights.

He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for a Lifetime of Community Service by President Barack Obama in 2016.

Dr. Laura Emiko Soltis

Dr. Laura Emiko Soltis is a human rights educator and social justice activist based in Atlanta, and currently serves as the Executive Director of Freedom University. Freedom University is a modern-day freedom school for undocumented youth banned from equal access to public higher education in Georgia. Emiko received her PhD and Graduate Certificate in Human Rights from Emory University, where she wrote her dissertation on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an interracial farmworker organization in South Florida. Emiko joined Freedom University as a volunteer faculty member, and was appointed the organization's first Executive Director in June 2014. In this capacity, Emiko introduced an international human rights framework and a horizontal leadership structure, and connected undocumented youth to Black student movement veterans of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and Freedom Summer 1964.

She also established a movement leadership training program and expanded the curriculum to include courses in wide-ranging academic disciplines chosen by students, including STEM classes and a creative arts program in music, dance, and mural painting. As an experienced social movement strategist, Emiko works to advance the undocumented student movement by building bridges between undocumented and documented student groups, advocating for fair admissions policies and sanctuary policies in higher education, and cultivating intergenerational relationships between undocumented students and veterans of the Black Freedom Movement. Emiko was the co-founder of the Freedom at Emory Initiative, which led to Emory’s admission of DACA students in 2015. She was also instrumental in leading the Emory Sanctuary Campaign in 2017, which expanded Emory's admissions and financial aid policy to include fully undocumented students. At Freedom University, Emiko continues to serve as the Professor of Human Rights, teaching classes in international human rights and immigration history. As an active public scholar, she writes and lectures frequently on topics such as human rights advocacyimmigrant rights, and workers' rights and economic justice.

Above all, Emiko is committed to mentoring undocumented youth and providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to be effective leaders in their own freedom struggle. In recognition of her leadership as a human rights activist, Emiko was awarded the lifetime Ashoka Fellowship and the Telemundo Héroe Luchadora Award in 2017, and was selected as a Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow in 2018. Emiko is also an accomplished photographer, violinist, and vocalist, and has performed in Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus. She enjoys dancing cumbia and being a good friend, and is the proud mom of five rescue dogs.


Earlier Event: February 12
Leadership Breakfast: Andrea Young