Bakari Sellers

Bakari Sellers

Keynote Address: Journey to Excellence

Bakari Sellers will take the audience on a journey. Reaching back to his past and first-person interaction with his father and Civil Rights icon Cleveland Sellers to his present-day hopes and struggles as he fights for the most marginalized people. The speech includes elements of education, inspiration, and transformation.

While I Breathe, I Hope 

Before attending the 2020 Equity and Diversity Conference keynote, learn more about Bakari Sellers through the 2018 documentary While I Breathe, I Hope. The documentary focuses on the tail end of Sellers' campaign for Lieutenant Governor in South Carolina as a young Democrat. The hour long documentary is free and available to watch online.


Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at just 22 years old, he defeated a 26-year incumbent State Representative to become the youngest member of the South Carolina state legislature and the youngest African American elected official in the nation.

In 2014 Sellers won the Democratic nomination for Lt. Governor and is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and leading voice for his generation.

Sellers earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse college, where he served as student body president, and his law degree from the University of South Carolina. He has followed in the footsteps of his father, civil rights leader Dr. Cleveland Sellers, in his tireless commitment to public service while championing progressive policies to address issues ranging from education and poverty to preventing domestic violence and childhood obesity.

In addition to his impressive list of early accomplishments, Sellers served on President Barack Obama's South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election. That coupled with his uncommon ability to reach across the aisle and get things done has led to numerous accolades including being named to TIME Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2010 as well as 2014’s “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans. Sellers has been a much sought after public speaker and has provided political and social commentary and analysis on many major national news outlets.

He has served as a featured speaker at events for the National Education Association, College Democrats of America National Convention, NAACP, the 2008 Democratic National Convention and, in 2007, delivered the opening keynote address to the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.

Sellers practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, SC. Sellers is a CNN contributor and is married to Ellen Rucker.