MLK Day Celebration
The community is invited to attend Clinton's 32nd Annual MLK Celebration. It is a time to remember and celebrate the life, work and vision of Dr. King.
The 2020 Community MLK Celebration will be held on Sunday, January 19 at Clinton Community College. Doors will be open at 1:30 p.m., with the program beginning at 2 p.m.
All are invited to join fellow community members to celebrate and honor Dr. King's message of peace, justice and equality. The Program will begin at 2 p.m. with a Keynote Speaker Charlene Williams. Peace & Justice Award recipients Dr. John Bonte and Jennifer Graf will be recognized. The program will feature several musical performances, as well as a dance performance by Ebony Illusion, directed and choreographed by Tiffany Harris.
The celebration will also feature exhibits, including "The Only One" from the African American Museum in Cedar Rapids. "The Only One" explores the experiences of Iowans who were the only African Americans on sports teams, in classrooms, at work, and in other situations. Other exhibits will include a quilt display, children's stories, Women of Color Leading the Change, Peace Leaders display, the YWCA Diversity Traveling Library, and the '63 Chicago Boycott. The Human Rights Commission and Clinton County Historical Society will also present exhibits. MLK Jr. t-shirts will be available for purchase.
The program will end with a civil rights march reenactment throughout CCC's halls, ending with light refreshments. This promises to be an uplifting and inspiring afternoon of community-building. The event is free to attend, and all are welcome.
This year's event is free to the community thanks to generous donations and support from Clinton Community College, Clinton County Historical Society, Ebony Illusion, Methodist for Social Action Clinton/Camanche Subgroup, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Sisters of Saint Francis, Franciscan Peace Center, Sweetheart Bakery/Homers Deli, YWCA Clinton, Alicia Clark, and Hayle Calvin. Donations will be accepted to help defray costs and plan future events.
This year marks the 18th year this award has been presented to individuals and organizations in our community whose work exemplifies and honors Dr. King's vision of social justice. This year the committee will be honoring two recipients whom they believe are deserving of this recognition: Dr. John Bonte and Jennifer Graf. Previous recipients of the MLK Peace and Justice Award include: Lori Freudenberg, Dr. William Woods, Tom Otto and Pam Rehr-Otto, Art Ollie, Lavina Engle, Mardell Mommsen, Dina Jetter White, Gene Empson, Sallyann McCarthy, Leslie McCreery, Lauren Ashley Smith, Sisters of Saint Francis, Vinson Jetter, LaMetta Wynn, YWCA Clinton, Maudi Walton, Tiffany Harris, retired Chief of Police Brian Guy and, most recently, Richard Kissack
The nomination letter for Dr. Bonte highlighted his 38 years as a faculty member at Clinton Community College, his service on the Human Rights Commission and the Clinton Community School District's Facilities Task Force, his work within his church and political party, and his decades-long service as a member of the MLK Planning Committee. Nominators Dr. Karen Vickers and Ann Eisenman described Bonte as a, "true pioneer in his teaching". Retiring in 2015, Bonte was recognized as EICC Faculty Emeritus in 2014. Dr. Karen Vickers shared, "He has shared of his time with many organizations and through this contributions has touched the lives of many."
This year's second Peace and Justice Award recipient, Jennifer Graf, is being honored for her commitment to equality, peace and justice. Graf has served as a Past President for the Rotary Club of Clinton, she serves as Executive Director of the Clinton Community School District Education Foundation, she is a Past President of the YWCA Board of Directors and a current serving board member. Additionally, Graf is a past member of the Clinton City Council and Clinton Community School Board. She has served on the Clinton Human Rights Commission and helped form a Diversity Team at Clinton Community Schools in the 90's. In her nomination letter Lori Freudenberg states, "Jennifer is not afraid to speak out against injustice, wherever she sees it. Her courage, her candor and her character is what is needed in a world where injustice seems to be all around us." Graf's second nominator, former Clinton City Administrator Jessica Kinser states, "I do not think you could find a person who has dedicated her life more to serving others and lifting others up to do well for themselves and their communities. The many lives she has touched show how great of an impact one person can have."
The MLK Celebration Committee is pleased to be celebrating the work of both these extraordinary individuals.
In the event of inclement weather, cancellation plans will be announced by 9 a.m. on Sunday. All local radio and TV stations will be notified.
For more information on this event, please contact MLK Committee member Mardell Mommsen at 563-244-7006 or visit the Events page of the YWCA website at www.ywcaclinton.org