News & Stories
January 5, 2024

Beloved community

Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolence and Social Change, and Story Church Atlanta Pastor Sam Collier discussed “Beloved Community in the Midst of Chaos” before more than 1,200 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members filling the Berry College Chapel on Sept. 7 or joining in via simulcast from Spruill Ballroom in Krannert Center.

In their conversation, King reflected on the principles of nonviolence rooted in the work of her parents, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King.


“If we don’t learn how to have conversations, my concern is we will end up destroying ourselves,” King told the crowd. “As long as there is a separation, people can feed you all kinds of propaganda. But we can have different perspectives, come from different worlds and have tough conversations but do it in a respectful tone because of the worth and value that exists in one another. The media is participating in building this combative tone, and that is why we need these conversations.”


“If we don’t learn how to have conversations, my concern is we will end up destroying ourselves.

— Bernice King


She encouraged participants to “learn to speak without being offensive and listen without being defensive” and to do it all from a place of love.

Haley Smith, Berry’s chief diversity and belonging officer, added, “I’m grateful for the response we had, especially because when we talk about social issues, there is a lot of division. What I am grateful for is that we saw people all over our campus and community say, ‘I may have my own opinions, but it is important to me to be a good neighbor, to listen and to learn.’”

The conversation and the book-signing that followed were sponsored by corporate partners GHD Foundation and Georgia Power Foundation. GHD is a global professional services company.

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