More on the above..from an internet article
Williams awarded GKI prize
Walter L. Williams was a 2006 recipient of the Gandhi King Ikeda award, an honor bestowed upon friends of the SGI in academia. Lengthy excerpt below is from
Morehouse College and the Gandhi Institute of Reconciliation sponsored a reception on Friday March 24, 2006 at the University of Southern California to mark the end of the exhibition "Gandhi, King, Ikeda: A Legacy of Building Peace." Before a crowd of nearly 150 people, Dr. Lawrence Carter, Dean and Professor of Religion at Morehouse College presented an exceptionally inspiring address on the ideals of peace and human rights in the thought of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Daisaku Ikeda.
After his speech Professor Carter, on behalf of the Gandhi Institute of Reconciliation, presented the "Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award" to University of Southern California Professor Walter L. Williams. This award was conferred for:
"distinguished commitment and leadership promoting diversity and human rights, especially in pioneering scholarship and for extraordinary efforts to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, notably on the American college campus, enjoy equality and rights guaranteed to all in our nation. You have wonderfully embodied the noble virtues of the individuals for which this award was named. This award emphasizes the positive difference that one person can make in promoting peace and human rights through non-violent action."
The following is the full text, from which Walter L. Williams presented a shortened version, of his acceptance speech:
Tonight, I feel deep humility and gratitude to be recognized by this award. In particular, because Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Daisaku Ikeda have each been such important influences in my life, receiving this award may prompt you to wonder why I, a product of the segregated South, would have gotten involved in the struggles for civil rights and human rights. After all, my ancestors were slaveowners, Confederate soldiers, and prejudiced devotees of the Ku Klux Klan....
...Dr. Ikeda's Buddhist philosophy keeps me inspired, not to be a critic, but to do what I can to help make the world a better place. Earlier in my life, I was focused on protesting injustices. Today I am focused on increasing human happiness. Now it is certainly true that major injustices remain unresolved. And happiness is increased in part by working to reduce injustice and inequality. But under Ikeda's influence my focus now is on the positive. I try to minimize the lower life conditions in my life, like greed, anger and stupidity, and try to maximize the higher life conditions by promoting learning, creativity, and compassion. It is only by this process, Ikeda says, that a person can achieve fulfillment in life.
So, in accepting this award, I want you to know why the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award is so particularly meaningful to me. While Gandhi was killed a few months before I was born, I consider myself fortunate to have met both King and Ikeda. All three of these thinkers have been so influential to my life. Whatever accomplishments I have been able to make in my life, I don't want to ever forget that I am standing on the shoulders of giants. Three of these giants are the people for whom this award is named. I hope I can live up to their ideals.
Walter L. Williams