"My motivation for doing research on race, racism, and social justice and helping organizations with equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts begin in my childhood.
My father, William Smith, Jr., was one of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s bodyguards and then was appointed by him to be chief of security for Operation Breadbasket, which later became Operation Push, under the leadership of Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. Learning more about my father’s connection with Dr. King and his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement was inspirational. I made it my commitment to learn as much as possible about the history of African Americans’ fights for equality and equity a personal goal.
Fortunately, my mother, Gwendolyn Smith, was a committed pro-Black educator in the Chicago Public School System, and she knew the scholarly books and encyclopedias that I needed to feed my youthful interests. My mother grounded me with an excellent education and racial identity in our African American culture. For these reasons, in addition to the ongoing systemic racism and injustices in our country, I have committed my life to social change."
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