TROY - Emmy nominated executive producer and television personality and former state trial judge Penny Brown Reynolds challenged those attending the 13th annual Leadership Conference Celebrating African American History Month at Troy University to be ready to answer when the call came.
Speaking during the conference's closing session on Saturday, Reynolds said too many people are more concerned about talking about issues rather than providing true leadership and action.
"Too many people want to make speeches, when what we need is movement and action. We have a shortage of people who are ready and willing to deal with the harsh realities we face in our country today," Reynolds said, noting such issues as global poverty, social justice and an "epidemic of violence among our young people."
"We must be willing and ready to seize the moment at the moment of relevancy," she said. "I hope that as we leave this conference today, we leave with a renewed sense of purpose and our calling."
Speaking to the young people in the audience, Reynolds urged them not to take the things they enjoy in their lives for granted.
"Young people, someone paid a price so that you wouldn't have to," she said. "Remember that the greatest danger of freedom is to forget the God who made that freedom possible."
Pointing to reality television shows as an example, Reynolds said we live in a society where anything goes.
"There is not enough moral outrage from us, as a society, today," Reynolds said. "We can't seem to get enough of these shows on television, but what these shows leave us with is a skewed perception of what reality truly is. The structure of our society must change. We live in the greatest, most prosperous country in the world, but our country will never be put together while we pull apart."
Reynolds served as a state trial court judge in Atlanta for nearly a decade and previously served as executive counsel to Georgia's governor, making her the first African American to hold such a position. She earned a bachelor's degree from Georgia State University, a Juris Doctor from Georgia State University College of Law and a master's degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center.
Reynolds has founded the Judge Penny Brown Reynolds Foundation, Inc. for the purpose of restoring families and empowering women and young people. She is a veteran social activist and president and chief executive officer of Divine Destiny Productions, LLC.
Earlier in the day, conference participants took part in breakout sessions with speakers such as: Dr. Marquita Davis, director of the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity Dr. John Ed Mathison, former senior minister at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery and head of John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries; and, Montgomery County Probate Judge Steven Reed.
The Conference opened on Friday night with an address by Elder Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Leadership Conference Celebrating African American History Month was launched in 2002 and seeks to bring individuals together to promote dialogue that fosters multicultural collaboration and equip diverse leaders with tools to better serve their organizations and communities. The conference is co-sponsored by Troy University and the City of Troy.