Why I’m Really Excited U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is Coming to University of Alabama

Two days from now, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will visit the University of Alabama, thanks to the efforts to an enthusiastic top-notch sophomore, David Wilson.

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Just two days until the University of Alabama will again be in the spotlight as the top official at U.S. Justice Department makes a campus visit.

This time it’s not would-be governors who will be the main attraction as they did last Thursday, but the nation’s top prosecutor– the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who will give the keynote address at the University’s 50th Anniversary Celebration of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Holder has an interesting link to the University of Alabama, by way of marriage.  His wife,  Dr. Sharon Malone, is the sister of the late Vivian Malone Jones, who was one of two students who integrated the University in the infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door” incident in 1963.

Holder also has been an advocate of mentoring as one way to combat crime.  As a participant in mentoring programs here in Tuscaloosa, I am particularly interested in hearing what Holder has to say about this– even in his address on Tuesday.

“There is a direct correlation between schools that work, between mentoring efforts, between high levels of employment,” said Holder in a recent hearing before the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

n September 2009,  Holder announced more than $129 million in Recovery Act and fiscal year 2009 funds to be used for mentoring services to help prevent at-risk youth from becoming involved in delinquency.

About the book

Full disclosure:  I’ve never read To Kill a Mockingbird.

But after reading a Wikipedia article about it, I’m inspired to go get the book and read it.   I’m particularly inspired because of the issues and topics that apparently associated with the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, whose author is from Alabama.

Harper Lee is a celebrity, despite what some have called her tendency to avoid the spotlight.

But this excitement pales in comparison to the fact that one of our bright, up-and-coming student leaders from Tuscaloosa was apparently responsible for getting the U.S. Attorney General to come to the University of Alabama.

The student behind it all

My hats are off to David Wilson, a sophomore economics major and SGA member from the College of Commerce and Business Administration, who even before graduating from Northridge High School, here in Tuscaloosa, made a name for himself as the creator of the THINK Program.

In some ways, Wilson as a high school student exemplified the kind of mentoring for which Holder advocates.

Most recently, I had the chance to participate in a two-day workshop with Wilson as a part of the Sustained Dialogue program here at University of Alabama.

As an SGA Senator, Wilson has been instrumental in “We are UA” collection of stories about the University.

His energy and enthusiasm for what he does on campus must have been what convinced the Attorney General’s office to put a UA address on his calendar.

It should be an exciting afternoon at the UA Law School.   I look forward to it.

But, I congratulate David Wilson on stepping up and taking the initiative.

The University of Alabama should be as proud of David Wilson as they are excited about Eric Holder coming to campus.

Author: George Daniels

George L. Daniels is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Alabama. After spending eight years in the local television newsroom working as a producer at stations in Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Atlanta, Georgia, Daniels moved from the newsroom to the classroom. He’s conducted research on diversity issues in the media workplace and change in the television newsroom as well as media convergence. Before going to work in television news, Daniels worked briefly as a freelance writer for The Richmond Free Press in his hometown of Richmond, Va.

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