Education: the message behind MLK Awards Dinner - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Education: the message behind MLK Awards Dinner

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The fourth annual Dr. Martin Luther King Awards dinner kicked off on Saturday evening at the Bayfront Convention Center. This year, six awards were granted to people and groups who strengthened the Erie community.

One clear message of the evening was the value of education in overcoming social inequality.

The evening's keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Franklin, is the president emeritus of Morehouse College - where MLK earned his bachelor's degree. His message to the audience was the importance of working together towards a goal.

"That's the key of Dr. King's message. The interdependence of all communities, all peoples, all religious traditions. Despite our difference, to work for the common good," Franklin said. "And ultimately, the message is, our young people need more education."

Mary Tula of "Erie Together" is the recipient of the "Youth Impact" award.

"What we're really trying to do here is to make sure we have more kids becoming successful adults, more families becoming self sufficient, and more individuals with family sustaining employment," Tula said.

Erie Together operates with the help of hundreds of volunteers to help achieve those outcomes, Tula added.

Al and Peggy Richardson received the Dr. King Award, an award intended for those who have sparked undeniable improvement to the Erie community. The Richardson's established a college scholarship program for Erie African American students in 1998. They with the Erie Community Foundation continue to fund the program today.

Dance and music also played a part in the evening.

Erie's Dance Theater, a multicultural dance school, showcased the talent of local youths in two performances, while Bridgett Cotton and Amanda Tyes led the audience of nearly 500 in singing the "Negro National Anthem."

The evening's theme was "Remembering the road taken: renewing the commitment 50 years later" - a commitment towards Dr. King's goal to strive not only for racial equality, but also social and economic justice.

 

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