The 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast was held on Monday, Jan. 20 in Foster Hall on the campus of MVNU.
The breakfast is a partnership between MVNU and Kenyon College, in conjunction with members of the Knox County community. Prominent speakers at the event included MVNU president Dr. Henry Spaulding, newly elected Mayor of Mount Vernon Matt Starr, and Leeman Kessler, the Mayor of Gambier.
Kenyon Professor of Drama Jonathan Tazewell was the keynote speaker, speaking on the theme, “Where do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community.” The purpose of this theme was to “examine the direction of society as we continue to overcome racism, end global suffering and eradicate poverty.”
Tazewell spoke about his time in Knox County and how he sometimes feels like an outsider in his own community. “It is, unfortunately, an irony many American people of color face, not only in their local communities, but throughout our nation,” Tazewell said. “Though most of us have known no other country to call our home, the recognition of our full citizenship in this nation, both legal and emotional, has been a continual battle waged by the proud and the righteous.”
The program also included the presentation of the 2020 Beulah Apostolic Award, which was awarded to Reverend Josephus Foster, Clara Foster and Joyce Hogan. Reverend Foster is a MVNU alum with a Master of Divinity degree and served as a trustee providing significant leadership in diversity, employment and wisdom. The Foster family were recognized for their work in Columbus through the Fountain of Hope Ministry. Hogan, a longtime member of the Dr. King Legacy Committee, was acknowledged for her dedication to the annual breakfast as well as her devotion to caring for others over a long career in nursing.
The event was an astounding success that spoke to the vast impact that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had on the generations after him. “MLK Day calls us to remember, but more importantly to act,” Dr. Spaulding said in his speech, “That is, to creatively and graciously engage the structure of violence and hate with King’s prophetic imagination.”
Caption: Professor Jonathan Tazewell speaking at the 17th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast. Photo by Ben Haws.