Honoring Dr. King: Somerset Community College to Host Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Events

Jan 4, 2018

martin luther king jr posterSomerset Community College (SCC) will be hosting three upcoming events to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

SCC Unity Breakfast - January 12, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

Dr. Anton R. Reece, president of West Kentucky Community and Technical College (WKCTC) in Paducah, will be the guest speaker at the annual SCC Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast on Friday, January 12, 2018. The breakfast, held yearly to commemorate the life and hope of Dr. King, will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at SCC on the Somerset North Campus, Harold Rogers Student Commons Citizens National Bank Community Room in Somerset. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested.

"It is important that we honor Dr. King in higher education because education and spirituality were his two foundational platforms," said Dr. Reece. "Dr. King achieved multiple degrees, including a Ph.D. by age 25. He is a powerful example of a leader pursuing, achieving and championing access in education. In addition, many of the civil rights unrest involved school integration challenges."

At the breakfast, Dr. Reece will be speaking on the theme "“the truth is not always popular and the most popular thing is not always the truth.”

"Dr. King was a multidimensional leader, but most of his popularity is derived from a singular focus on the 'I Have A Dream Speech,'" said Dr. Reece. "I will make the case that the 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' is one of his most impactful and relevant commentaries in the national crossroads of race relations."

Dr. Reece said he will also focus on what he believes Dr. King would say about the role of the church, higher education and our homes in current racial and societal progress.

Dr. Reece has served more than 26 years in higher education. He received a bachelor's degree in broadcast news and a master's degree in counseling from Eastern Kentucky University. He conducted post-graduate work at Murray State University and earned his Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Dr. Reece began his career in higher education at WKCTC (then called Paducah Community College), as a minority affairs coordinator and counselor. Prior to joining WKCTC as president, Dr. Reece was serving as the associate vice provost for Academic Affairs and director of the Student Success Center at University of Tennessee Knoxville.

"Dr. King has, and continues to, inspire me through his courage to speak out against injustice," said Dr. Reece. "His ability to communicate across audiences and his (civil rights) efforts provided opportunities for me, and countless others, to access and thrive in higher education."

Dr. Reece will be introduced by community volunteer Noel B. Williams. In addition, SCC student Leighton Coffey will present a reading by Dr. King. Coffey is an award-winning student journalist.

To register for the SCC Unity Breakfast, email Elaine Wilson, director of cultural diversity at SCC, at elaine.wilson@kctcs.edu.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Program - January 14, 2018, 2 p.m.

Renee Shaw, producer, writer and host for Kentucky Education Television, will be the featured speaker for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. community program. The event will take place at First Baptist Church, located at 128 North Main Street, in Somerset at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 14, 2018.

Shaw was born in Portland, TN, and is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a B.A. in political science and broadcast journalism (1994) and an M.A. in corporate communications (1996). She is an adjunct professor of media writing at Georgetown College and has trained journalists in Cambodia on reporting in an open democracy. For several years Shaw was a reporter and associate producer with WKYU-TV and WKYU-FM, where she earned state and national awards for her radio reporting. Her career with Kentucky Educational Television (KET) began in 1997. In 2005 she launched "Connections with Renee Shaw" on KET, the first statewide minority affairs program. On the show, Shaw joins with fellow business leaders, entertainers, authors and celebrities to explore a broad array of topics impacting Kentucky and the world.

Shaw is a public affairs program producer and co-produces KET's longest running public affairs program, "Comment on Kentucky." She is also producer/managing editor and host of KET's legislative coverage. She is a 2007 graduate of the Leadership Kentucky program and heads Public Relations and Marketing for the First Baptist Church Bracktown, where she is also a Sunday School teacher.

In addition to Shaw, the community Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Choir will perform at the event, along with artists from the McNeil Studio.

Sidebar: Those interested in performing with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Choir should plan to attend rehearsal on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the First Baptist Church Choir Suite, located on the second floor of the church at 128 North Main Street, Somerset. The choir will be singing Song for Unsung Heroes and Total Praise, which will be opened by the McNeil Studio's Amanda Balltrip performing the solo verse.

Wayne County Collaborative Unity Breakfast - January 15, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

SCC is partnering with the Wayne County Lions Club, Wayne County Women's Club, Wayne County Extension office, Wayne County Outlook, Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial Board of Directors, the Aspire Center, Wayne County Homemakers, Monticello Mayor Jeffrey Edwards, Wayne County Judge-Executive Mike Anderson, Wayne County Troop #7383 and the local Dairy Queen, to bring together a truly collaborative celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, January 15 at 8:30 a.m.. The breakfast will be held at the Aspire Community Center, located at 90 Airport Road, in Monticello.

Speaking at the event will be Delores Dalton, a member of the Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial (LCSM) Board.

Dalton and other members of the board are working to raise funds to erect a new memorial designed to honor the many unmarked slave graves throughout Pulaski and surrounding counties. The memorial, called the Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial, will be placed at SCC once funds are obtained.

At the event, a television, donated by the local Wal-Mart, will be raffled off. Funds from the raffle will go toward the memorial.

In addition to Dalton, SCC student Leighton Coffey, an award-winning student journalist, will present a reading by Dr. King. Joe Cowan, education specialist with Project BEAM at SCC, will speak on Wayne County slave cemeteries and the Wayne County Elementary School Choir will perform.

For more information, contact Phillip Duncan at phildunc86@gmail.com or (606) 278-0050.

Community March - January 15, 2018, 11:30 a.m.

The annual community-wide Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. March will take place on Monday, January 15, 2018. The march will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Somerset First Church of God, 346 Monticello Street, and end at High Street Baptist Church, 102 Bourne Avenue, Somerset. A light lunch will be served after the march.