The Greater Scranton MLK Commission Celebrates Dr. King

Jan 10, 2014

The Greater Scranton MLK Commission has planned programs and special events for all ages to celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the man and his legacy. Events run from Saturday, Jan. 18, through Monday, Jan. 20, and include the annual MLK Celebration and Awards Dinner at The University of Scranton’s DeNaples Center, as well as other events at venues in Scranton.

On Saturday, Jan. 18, the Commission and Scranton High School will host the Everyday Hero Program for children and members of the community from 6 to 8 p.m. p.m., featuring multicultural music and dance performances, which will include Irish step, Bhutanese, Hebrew songs and more. Foods representing cultures from around the world will also be served. Students in grades 9 to 12 will participate in an essay contest related to the theme of the weekend “Now is the Time.”

The annual MLK Celebration and Awards Dinner will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 19, in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the University’s DeNaples Center, 900 Mulberry Street. Featured speakers include Sherman Wooden, director of the Center for Anti-Slavery Studies; Rabbi Moshe Saks of Temple Israel; Taylor James of The Commonwealth Medical College; Dan Duffy, director of the Lackawanna College Police Academy and former chief of police of Scranton; and keynote speaker, Irvin Scott, Ed.D., deputy director, education, for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Scott leads grant making for Empowering Effective Teachers and Teacher Voice/Professionalism for the College Ready strategy of the Gate Foundation’s U.S. education division, which focuses on transforming how teachers are recruited, developed, retained and rewarded. Prior to joining the Gates Foundation, he served as Chief Academic Officer for Boston Public Schools, where he was responsible for the academic programming of the school systems, as well as all regional superintendents and schools in the district. He earned a national reputation for his leadership in improving student outcomes, especially among low-income students and students of color. Previously, Dr. Scott served as both an English teacher and principal of J.P. McCaskey and McCaskey East High Schools in Lancaster, among other positions. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Millersville University, a master’s degree from Temple University and a master’s and doctoral degree from Harvard University.

On Monday, Jan. 20, the annual March to the Courthouse will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the United Neighborhood Progressive Center, 414 Olive Street. Refreshments will be served prior to the march, which will proceed to the Lackawanna County Courthouse beginning at 5:15 p.m. There will be a brief ceremony and remarks at the Courthouse, followed immediately by a “birthday party” reception for Dr. King with hot cocoa and snacks, hosted by Sister Ann Walsh and the Friends of the Poor at the Scranton Cultural Center. The celebration will conclude with an Interfaith Service at Bethel AME Church, 716 North Washington Ave., beginning at 7 p.m.

All events except the Sunday dinner are free and open to the public. Tickets for the dinner are $25 per person. Table reservations are available. Proceeds from the dinner support year-round educational programming provided by the Commission. For tickets or additional information please contact James Williams, MLK Commission president, at or 570-961-1592, ext. 110.

The University of Scranton is a member of the Greater Scranton MLK Commission. University staff members serving on the Commission are Jennifer Pennington, administrative assistant for the Office of Equity and Diversity, who serves a commissioner and event coordinator, and Paul Porter, Ph.D., director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, who serves as vice president.

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