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 leader and founder of the Beloved Community Ministries of Selma, where Malika Fortier is also a minister. They host a radio show called A Public Conversation that encourages civic engagement. They both recently earned a Juris Doctorate and manage the historic law firm of Chestnut, Sanders, and Sanders, L.L.C in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. They are also parents of a family of multiples and envision a strong community in which all children will grow and reach their God-given dreams and potential. 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.
Dr. Franklin Fortier
Dr. Fortier has had an extensive commitment over the years to changing communities riddled with injustice and far too few opportunities. Dr. Fortier himself has rose up out of such communities on the south side of Chicago. Even as a teenager Dr. Fortier had to literally fight his way out of the pressure of gang culture. He was inspired by his mother, Pearl Fortier Miles to care about somebody other than himself and to make sacrifices for our community. Even as a young man his gifts and talents made way for him and he was able to leverage his basketball abilities as a MVP into a college degree. In fact, as a result of Dr. Fortier’s climb out of poverty, from not being able to afford to go to college to obtaining a law degree, he has been able to train hundreds of youth how to do the same, writing a book and training manual, the Beloved Lion- to accomplish this goal. Due to the life experiences, education
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. Dr. Fortier answered the call of local Selmians to volunteer to educate young strugglinf men and to turn the tide of violence in the Selma community. 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”
Franklin and Malika were married in 2006 at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge where key historical events in the voting rights movement took place, demonstrating their vision and commitment to building the Beloved Community. Malika attended Spelman College in Atlanta, graduating with a degree in psychology. While she was there, she joined other students in addressing community issues and mentored children in near by public housing. 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 promises 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.
After marrying and meeting Franklin, malika went back to law school with him, at his encouragement. She had 2 more babies in law school. She is now an attorney with Chestnut, Sanders, & Sanders, LLC.