Civil rights attorney calls for diversity and inclusion to make America great
Morris Dees has a virtue he wishes he could share with a country he continues to see as divided. During a lecture at The Ohio State University Wednesday night, the famed civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center told a story about a memorable moment in his career.
Dees led a wrongful death lawsuit against the United Klans of America for their role in the lynching death of Michael McDonald in 1981. Dees represented Beulah Mae McDonald, mother of the young man murdered by Klan members.
McDonald met one of the men responsible for the death of her son, and he asked for her forgiveness. She granted it. Dees was moved by her compassion – he said he wished he could have packaged that moment.
“That’s the solution. To be willing to forgive people who, in some way, cause you in small ways and big ways to not like them,” Dees said.
Forgiveness and finding common ground were themes of his speech for the 19th Annual President and Provost’s Diversity Lecture and Cultural Arts Series. His appearance at the Fawcett Center was supported by the university Division of Police, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and Moritz College of Law.