Valley honors Martin Luther King Jr.

By Brandon Cantwell

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 16, Youngstown State University’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is working in conjunction with the community’s MLK Planning Committee to support activities in the area.

There will be two programs hosted this year. The first program, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Annual Worship Service, will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 15, at Price Memorial African Methodist Episcopal, by the Rev. Amariah McIntosh. 

The second program, the 40th Annual Martin Luther King Community Workshop, will take place the following day and run from 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 201 Wick Ave. 

FBI Special Agent Gregory Nelson will be visiting from Cleveland to host the second event. The worship service will be livestreamed and both events are free and open to the public.

Penny Wells, a member of the MLK Planning Committee, said it is important for the Mahoning Valley to be involved in these events and Martin Luther King Jr. Day to appreciate what he accomplished.

I think it’s always good to pause and appreciate what has been accomplished, and especially the accomplishments of Martin Luther King [Jr.] and his legacy, but also the need for all of us to move on to work for social justice and to carry out his legacy,” Wells said. 

Wells also said the day represents more than honoring King, but reflects what can be done societally. 

“[The holiday] means not just honoring him, but it means the need for all of us to take action and I think that’s very important and there’s always something that everyone can do to be involved in social change,” Wells said.

Wells said students might be drawn to the events, particularly Monday’s workshop, if they are interested in criminal justice or law, as Nelson will be discussing aspects of the criminal justice field.

The university will be hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. Discussion & Program on Jan. 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Kilcawley Center. 

Black Student Union President, David Hughley III, said the holiday is important because he sees Martin Luther King Jr. as a nuanced character.

“[Martin Luther King Jr. has] such a nuanced personality. He definitely shows that as human beings we can definitely come together despite our differences,” Hughley said. “In spite of, you know, insecurity, controversy, conflict, love is a very transcending thing and he tried to teach us that while he was here and lead as best as he could.” 

Hughley III said King’s attributes and elements affect the Black Student Union.

“Dr. King is [a] very interesting and powerful individual, and his elements and aspects and attributes definitely come back to us at the Black Student Union and everyone in general,” Hughley said. “I feel we can all learn from such a transcending individual like Dr. King.”

For further information about the off-campus events, contact (330) 747-2125.

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