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Livingstone College awards social justice activist Tamika Mallory with honorary doctorate degree


SALISBURY – Award-winning social justice activist Tamika Mallory is officially a Blue Bear of Livingstone College.

The national movement strategist and author received an honorary doctorate degree in humane letters on May 6 during the college’s 141st commencement at Varick Auditorium, after delivering a powerful commencement address.

She told the Class of 2023 that they are the light of the world – the same light that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said can drive out darkness, and the light that former First Lady Michelle Obama said can feed the person next to you and ignite our community.

“Shine bright, Livingstone College, class of 2023,” Mallory said. “Don’t forget the legacy. Don’t forget where you come from. Don’t forget the stories. Don’t’ forget the sacrifice … Don’t forget Dr. (Joseph Charles) Price … but most importantly, don’t forget your own big mama and papa, who also wouldn’t die. Don’t forget your people and lastly, don’t forget yourself. Let us together, reshape a new world. Stand up, stand in your power.”

Mallory told the students to use their privilege of crossing this stage as a boat to safe harbor and “make sure you are the light for all of those coming behind.”“

"I knew I made the right choice in having you deliver the commencement address for my first May graduation as president,” said Livingstone President Dr. Anthony J. Davis. He thanked her for the work that she does as a social justice practitioner and for speaking truth to power.

Mallory was the first of seven to receive honorary doctorate degrees at the ceremony. She thanked Livingstone for honoring her as a new member of Blue Bear nation.

Mallory is the author of State of Emergency, a declaration she made in the opening of her speech during the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis. She is the youngest ever executive director of the National Action Network and was instrumental in the creation of the New York City’s Crisis Management System, an official gun violence prevention program that awards nearly $27 million to violence prevention organizations annually.

She made history when she helped shepherd the largest single day demonstration, the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, serving as one of its four national co-chairs. Most recently, she co-founded Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice organization that serves as a clearing house for organizers, activists, movement attorneys, artists, celebrities and formerly incarcerated individuals.

Mallory was honored as one of Time 100’s Most Influential People and was featured on Fortune’s list of the World’s Greatest Leaders.


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