By Jennifer Rodriguez
Youngstown State University will host its 15th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Breakfast on Jan. 19 in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center.
The breakfast is sponsored by the Division of Student Experience, Student Diversity Programs and the Student Diversity Council. It is free for students.
William Blake, director of Student Diversity Programs, said the event is attended by a diverse group of people including students, faculty, politicians and religious leaders. The breakfast marks the beginning of events for Black History Month.
“The work of Dr. King is still having an impact and it should be celebrated,” said Blake. “We include everybody. Every race and every gender.”
Eddie Howard, the associate vice president of Student Experience, said every student should take advantage of having this event at the university.
“Dr. King’s dream was about the inclusion of all people regardless of the color of their skin or their beliefs. That message is still relevant today,” said Howard.
The keynote speaker for the breakfast will be Rochelle Robinson, a YSU Alumna and the mayor of Douglasville, Georgia. Robinson was the first black and female mayor of the small town.
“I’ll be talking about inclusion,” said Robinson. “About remembering things of the past, celebrating the present and actions for the future.”
Along with a guest speaker and food, there will be music provided by YSU jazz instructor Theron Brown. Six people will be recognized and presented with awards for different achievements and their impact on diversity.
Booker Morris, a veteran who served in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War is one of the six who will be recognized for his services. Last year, Dr. Tiffany Anderson received the Student Diversity Council’s Distinguished Award.
Anderson is the director of Africana Studies and plans on attending the breakfast next week.
“It was so well attended — it is not just university people that go,” she said. “I am looking forward to this year’s speaker. It will help students understand the power of a YSU degree.”
YSU students can receive a ticket from the Office of Student Diversity Programs in Kilcawley Center and need to have their YSU banner ID number. Non-students are also encouraged to attend, and can purchase tickets for $20 at the information desk in Kilcawley Center.