CIVIL & HUMAN RIGHTS LEADER.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST.
PUBLIC POLICY ADVOCATE.
The Reverend Markel Hutchins, Chairman & CEO of MovementForward, Inc., has been impacting and touching the lives of others nearly his entire life. Widely regarded as one of the most gifted, charismatic and inspirational leaders of his generation, he embodies servant leadership. Heeding Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to “make a career of humanity,” Hutchins has gained a national reputation advocating fairness and justice. His grassroots advocacy, charisma and compelling oratory have propelled him into the midst of iconic civil rights leaders from Coretta Scott King and Dorothy Height to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. His uncanny ability to rally diverse people around a common cause has endeared World leaders ranging from corporate CEO’s to college presidents and led one prominent newspaper columnist to dub him “the new kid on the national civil rights leadership block,” for his role in addressing contemporary social challenges, particularly those relating to minority and other disadvantaged communities.
From 1997 until 2006, Hutchins simultaneously served as National President and CEO of the National Youth Connection (N.Y.C.), Inc., then America’s only young-adult led civil rights group, and as Chairman of the Board of Directors of its’ research and education fund, the National Youth Challenge, Inc. Hutchins oversaw N.Y.C.’s dramatic expansion from the small start-up nonprofit that he founded as a college student, to become a respected national advocacy organization that garnered the significant financial backing of dozens of major corporations. It was during his tenure at the helm of N.Y.C. that Hutchins solidified his place among the nation’s leading voices on civil and human rights matters.
An ordained Baptist minister, former African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) pastor and sought-after preacher, he regularly delivers sermons to churchgoers across the nation as Chairman and CEO of Markel Hutchins Ministries; he has ministered at some of the nation’s most prominent churches. A former child prodigy, Hutchins shepherded an A.M.E. Church congregation as its’ Senior Pastor on a special, transitory appointment from the jurisdictional episcopal bishop at the tender age of 17. As a businessman, he is Managing Principal and CEO of MRH-LLC, a management and communications consulting firm that advises corporations, labor unions, small businesses and religious institutions on matters of diversity, public affairs and crisis management. In 2009, Hutchins led more than 100 Atlanta-area church pastors and 25 police chiefs in initiating the “One Church – One Precinct” project aimed at uniting law enforcement and faith based communities in addressing crime and violence.
Since childhood, Hutchins has been a commanding speaker, as well as, an affective and effective activist. He has led dozens of marches, protests, rallies and other demonstrations in various parts of the country. In the wake of the November 2006 murder of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in a botched Atlanta drug raid and the attempted police cover-up that ensued, Hutchins led the massive outcry and took the helm of the campaign to bring forth truth regarding the now infamous police shooting. Because of his ability to advocate and negotiate with local, state and federal authorities, Hutchins’ involvement in the Johnston case prompted the federal investigation of Atlanta police corruption that has since netted numerous arrests, a total revamping of the police department, the historic indictment, guilty pleas and imprisonment of the officers involved and an unprecedented settlement of the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Johnston Estate against the City of Atlanta. His successes resulted in the United States House Judiciary Committee collaborating with Hutchins and the ACLU in holding a congressional hearing to examine the Johnston case, the use of confidential informants in our national criminal justice system and widespread police misconduct therein.
A consistent ally of working people, Hutchins served for two years as a senior advisor to the international United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, one of North America’s largest organized labor organizations. His efforts on behalf of workers has also included partnering with and serving as a spokesperson for the wake-upwalmart.com campaign, calling on America’s largest and most profitable company to embrace higher standards of treatment and better wages for their employees. On February 20, 2008, in a nationally anticipated announcement, Hutchins launched a bid for the United States House of Representatives marking his first fun for political office. His historic candidacy had a significant impact on the 2008 Presidential election and netted thousands of votes with Hutchins finishing second in a three-way race, ahead of a popular, veteran state and local legislator and second only to an iconic 22-year incumbent. His congressional candidacy has since been referenced in several books.
Hutchins has previously and continues to serve on a number of boards, committees and commissions for respected institutions such as the DeKalb County, Georgia Board of Education; the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University; Pulling America's Communities Together (PACT); the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; the Edwards-Miller Foundation for Physical Disabilities; and the Catalyst Project. In addition to having held numerous leadership positions, Hutchins has received many accolades including an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree for ministerial accomplishments. Born and reared in metro-Atlanta, he is a product of DeKalb County, Georgia public schools and a 1995 graduate of Stone Mountain High School. Demonstrating an early penchant for history-making, he was the first minority (non-white) to serve as president of the student government/council at the ninety year-old high school located in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a city internationally known for its’ ties to the Ku Klux Klan. Upon graduation, Hutchins enrolled in Morehouse College to study sociology and was immediately elected President of his class.
A highly-sought public speaker, Hutchins is a frequent lecturer to corporate, labor, government, religious, and academic audiences. A mesmerizing motivator, countless organizations, schools, and special event organizers have solicited his oratory to inspire their gatherings. CNN, Fox News, C-Span, New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, ABC, NBC, CBS, BET and many other media outlets have featured his work. Essence Magazine honored Hutchins along with several others including U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott, with the distinction of being leading “Political Bachelors” in 2008. Ebony Magazine has featured him as one of our nation’s top leaders under 30-years-old and more recently as one of America’s “Most Eligible Bachelors.” He holds memberships in the National Council of Negro Women, NAACP, National Urban League, SCLC, Morehouse College Alumni Association and several other civic groups.
An avid proponent of fitness, health and wellness, he has lost more than 100 pounds and maintains a disciplined exercise regimen.