Rocky Mount, N.C.— North Carolina Wesleyan College is joining the City of Rocky Mount Human Relations Department, the local Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, and others to sponsor a series of events honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Events will begin on Saturday, January 12 at 9 am in the Imperial Centre Theatre with the annual Oratorical Competition. Selected middle and high school students will speak on themes related to Dr. King’s philosophies and current day society. Those in grades six through eight were assigned the topic, “Remember the Past, Envision the Future.” Ninth through twelfth graders focused on “Reflecting on the Past, Embracing the Present, Envisioning the Future.”
The high school theme is also the focus for the 25th Annual Unity Breakfast featuring a keynote address by civil rights attorney and CNN legal analyst, Avery Friedman. The breakfast will take place on Monday, January 21 in the Dunn Center on the campus of NC Wesleyan College. Breakfast begins at 7 am followed by the program at 8 am. PNC Bank and NC Wesleyan College are major sponsors.
Friedman is a weekly legal correspondent on CNN. As a law professor and civil rights attorney, he has litigated roughly 3,000 federal civil rights cases, recovering nearly $50,000,000 for victims in discrimination cases coast-to-coast. He has faced the Ku Klux Klan and successfully tried one of the longest federal fair housing trials in American history. Friedman is now chief counsel of the Fair Housing Council, a public interest firm.
Aside from CNN, Friedman has appeared on national television programs, such as “Good Morning America,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” and “Hannity & Colmes.” Friedman is also known for appearances on MSNBC and Court TV.
“Avery Friedman is a well-respected attorney, often championed for his years of success in the courtroom and for his work to advance our civil rights” said Archie Jones, director of the Human Relations Department for the City of Rocky Mount. “We are fortunate to have him serve as this year’s guest speaker.”
At the conclusion of the breakfast, volunteers will gather at the Dunn Center for a Day of Service. United Way Tar River Region and NC Wesleyan College have partnered to coordinate activities for several local service projects. Adia Cuthbertson, NCWC director of Student Activities, says the service projects will take place with the Rocky Mount Senior Center, United Community Ministries and Habitat for Humanity.
“Volunteers will perform some maintenance and yard work for seniors and those disabled, and complete litter cleanup along the Tar River Trail,” says Cuthbertson. Other work will include home construction, help in the soup kitchen, pantry and much more. Volunteers may sign up at the Unity Breakfast or by calling 454-1682 or 937-2213 ext. 204.
Events in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will end on Saturday, February 23 with the International Festival of Cultures from 12 to 4 pm in the Nash Community College Brown Auditorium. According to Jones, the event will be a celebration of diverse cultures from the Rocky Mount area.
“You can travel around the world in a couple of hours,” said Jones. “Enjoy song and dance, as well as food and attire from Malaysia, Asia, Central America, the Islamic community and much more.”
For more information on the local events planned to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., call 972-1181.
Information from the City of Rocky Mount was provided by:
Tameka Kenan-Norman, Public Affairs Mgr. for the City of Rocky Mount; 252-972-1333