Boynton Family Board Members
Franklin B. Fortier, Jr. and Malika Fortier are a couple dedicated to the movement for spiritual, civil, and human rights. They both started their first community based organizations as teenagers long before they met, have always appreciated the sacrifices of the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement, and have a shared vision of the Beloved Community. Franklin B. Fortier, Jr. is the pastor at the Beloved Community Church of Selma, where Malika Fortier is also a minister. They host a radio show together called The Glory that encourages civic engagement and beloved community building. They both recently received their Juris Doctorate and manage the historic law firm of Chestnut, Sanders, and Sanders, L.L.C in Selma, Alabama. They are also parents of a large family who envision a strong community in which all children will grow and reach their God-given dreams. The couple has more recently advocated against the racist symbol of Nathan Bedford Forrest being celebrate on public property in Selma, AL. They were able to garner 350,000 signatures on their Change.org petition. They also had the honor of co – presiding over the bridge crossing home going celebration of one of their sheroes, Amelia Boynton Robinson, whose central role in the Voting Rights Struggle was featured in the movie Selma. The couple also consistently engages in community efforts to transform Selma and our world. As a family, they are inspired to finish what the Boynton’s started. They believe that the civil rights generation was committed to tearing down the walls of injustice and now they are committed to building up the walls of the Beloved Community, of which the previous generation only dreamed.
Malika Asha Sanders Fortier drew in her activist career on roots that extended into the very center of the early civil rights movement. She was born in 1973 in Selma, Alabama. "I was born in a time of protest, when civil rights leaders would sleep in our house—as many as 50 or 100 curled up right there on the floor," she told Marie Claire. As a 15-year-old high school student in Selma, she realized that African-American students were routinely being tracked into lower-level classes rather than college-preparatory programs, regardless of their grades or test scores. The result was a new form of segregation. Sanders led a student walkout that began with just a few participants but grew into a series of marches and protest meetings that drew more than 100 students. The students formed an organization dubbed SMART—the Student Movement Against Racial Tracking. The group staged a five-day sit-in, facing down the National Guard forces called in by Selma mayor Joe Smitherman. The Ku Klux Klan erected a sign atop the school building where the students were ensconced. Sanders herself was arrested for the questionable crime of passing out leaflets. But in the end the students were victorious; impartial testing programs were implemented, and the Selma school board's white majority, which had terminated a black superintendent who had tried to take the students' side, was soon eliminated.
Fortier attended Spelman College in Atlanta, graduating with a degree in psychology. While she was there, she participated in protests including calling for the elimination of the Confederate battle flag element in the design of Georgia's state flag, and student protests against police brutality. The normal path for Fortier might have involved a job in a large city, but she returned instead to Selma. "I wasn't sure if I ever wanted to go back," she told Marie Claire. "And yet, I felt a responsibility to Selma and the South. Upon returning to Selma, Fortier became the executive director of 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement. The goal of the group was to develop young leaders to continue the legacy of the movement, of which there are yet promised fruit unfulfilled that need another generation to harvest. Fortier had attended the group's summer camps when she was younger. Fortier went on to be one of three young coordinators of the 40th Anniversary and re-enactment of the 1963 March on Washington, leading 21st Century Youth members in a chant of "I must prepare my mind, body, and spirit; we are 21st-century leaders, so let's act like it," as quoted in the Washington Times. Fortier has often addressed national meetings like the State of the Black World conference and the rapidly growing National Hip-Hop Political Convention, where she appeared in 2004. She was chosen to receive a Reebok Human Rights Award in 2002. The award carried a $50,000 grant, which Sanders plowed back into the 21st Century Youth Movement.
Fortier has sat on several boards such as the Southern Partners Fund, the Highlander Center, and the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute. She has also been featured in such as the New York Times, Utne, Essence, and on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
Dr. Franklin Fortier
On September 11, 2004 Rev. Fortier came to Selma with a principal colleague of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to actively work in completing the work initiated by the late minister in the realm of institutional sovereignty, economic independence and constitutional lawfulness as a means to produce social change. From then to now, he has extensively trained and immersed himself within the culture of the South with an interest to engage the dominant culture utilizing the principles of Kingian nonviolence coupled with promoting the intelligence of the cohort. Rev. Dr. Fortier and his wife and attorney/minister Malika Fortier are gaining practical expertise in working the principles to address the core issues of violence and poverty which erode the desire of life and liberty necessary for individual and collective progress. His training as a certified para legal coordinated through Mercer University in Atlanta, Doctorate of Law from Birmingham School of Law, and Master of Communications through California State University, Los Angeles give him the educational framework to effectively resolve complex legal and social issues. A core skill is to effectively resolve conflict which he has embraced through Level 1 and Level II Kingian Nonviolence training at Rhode Island University by Civil Rights leader and icon Rev. Dr. Bernard Lafayette.
The challenge of escalating violence and devaluation of Black life in America and in the South represent a backdrop to fully implement the sage wisdom of nonviolence and institutional development. This effort in association with the Beloved Community Church of Selma will facilitate important steps for progress in the world community. A favorite statement by Dr. Fortier is: “we can take into eternal life the knowledge of what we heal from and create with that expressed purpose; let the healing begin”…