ALLIANCE — The University of Mount Union finished a week of programming in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., Day with the 31st annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote address and awards presentation on January 19.
The program featured students including Jaliyah Mixon, Chris Watson, Aaliyah Kinnard and Kailyn McQueen and music by Aaliyah Kinnard and Samuel Darrin.
Anthony T. Parker, Esquire offered the keynote address, “Rev. Dr. MLK Jr., Day: Beyond Celebration to Empowerment,” focusing on the power of individuals to make a difference. Using teachings from Dr. King about love, nonviolence, and doing for others, Parker encouraged attendees to have the confidence to make a difference.
Parker expressed that even a gentle smile could change a person’s day, saying, “No matter your job or background you can make a positive impact, and it’s a chain reaction.”
“The way we can make a difference is understanding that love is easier than hate, that violence is just a distraction and that we have the power to make positive impact,” said Parker.
He concluded his remarks by challenging students in the audience to learn from the teachings of Dr. King, offering a scholarship to the student with the best essay submission about what they learned.
Parker is the Senior Pastor of Rhema (hray’ mah) Fellowship Church near downtown Cleveland, Ohio. He is the Magistrate for the Village of North Randall Mayor’s Court, President of the ATP Legal Group, LLC. and Personal Bailiff to Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge. He founded a nonprofit ministry which provides financial and mentoring support to high school and college students and adopts elementary schools so that young scholars can be introduced to professionals from various fields who motivate the youth to succeed.
Following the address, the annual MLK awards were presented to members of both the Mount Union community (student, faculty or staff) and the Alliance community who best embody the values and principles exemplified by Dr. King. Selection for the MLK awards are based on the nominee’s exemplification of the following: promoting racial harmony; advocating for social justice; collaborating with groups, offices, churches or organizations; demonstrating sustained commitment to diversity; fostering inclusiveness and an appreciation of differences.
The 2023 award winners included students Mixon and Kinnard, Professor of Education Mary Beth Henning, and community members Mike and Libby Patterson. Kinnard was also presented with the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Book Prize for her efforts at Mount Union.
(l-r) Aaliyah Kinnard, Mary Beth Henning, Jaliyah Mixon, Libby Patterson and Mike Patterson
Mixon, of East Palestine, is active in Sister Circle, the Black Student Union, residence life staff and serves as a Raider Guide. Kinnard, of North Canton, is active in Sister Circle, the Black Student Union, residence life staff and concert choir.
Henning works to foster an environment of inclusiveness and is known for her research and teachings in diversity and inclusion. The Pattersons are longtime Alliance residents who are known for their compassion and volunteerism and are engaged in various community groups including the YMCA, the YWCA, the Alliance Community Pantry, Kiwanis and Union Avenue United Methodist Church.