Photos of the March for Unity in Our Community in 2012.
Sue Kiesewetter reports:
A 95-year-old black man who lived the civil rights movement will be the keynote speaker for West Chester and Liberty townships’ observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 21.
Charles Parrish, of West Chester Township, was born in Georgia but moved with his family to Glendale as a young boy of five or six when his father feared for the family’s safety after a lynching.
“This is a golden opportunity for people to sit at the foot of history and listen to it,’’ said Gail Webster, who helped organize the event. “This is somebody sharing his life history with us at the 50th anniversary of King’s I Have a Dream speech.”
Parrish’s presentation and the showing of King’s 1963 speech at the March of Washington, highlight the Live the Dream: Our Declaration of Unity program that begins at 7 p.m., at Liberty Township’s Cornerstone United Methodist Church, 7600 Princeton-Glendale Road.
The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Student submissions to the Why Bother? essay contest answering the question, ‘Why should we bother to celebrate this holiday?’ contest will be on display in the lobby.
Besides Parrish’s talk and the video, winners of the essay contests will be reading them out loud. The Community Choir will sing and piano music will be performed by Vince Benabese.
The community’s observance of King begins Monday with the annual March for Unity in Our Community. It begins at noon at Union Day School, 8735 Cincinnati-Dayton Road.
Marchers will proceed south about a half-mile to the West Chester Presbyterian Church where all marchers will be given a free lunch, donated by area restaurants.
Families, school and community groups, scouts, and others are encouraged to participate in the march and luncheon.
In connection with the MLK observance, a lecture on George Washington Carver, will be presented Feb. 19 during Black History Month at MidPointe Library West Chester. The hour-long program begins at 7 p.m. in the library’s community room a/b.
Carver, a botanist, was born a slave, but when on to develop more than 100 uses for peanuts and went on to teach and run the agricultural department at the Tuskegee Institute for 47 years.
Essay contest winners:
- Elementary: Caitlin Jimmar, third grade, Adena
- English as a Second Language: Lizabeth Gutierrez Rizo, seventh grade, Ridge Junior
- Special Merit: Charlotte Reed, seventh grade, Hopewell Junior
- Junior School: Marissa Davis, eighth grade, Hopewell Junior
- Senior High School: Cindy Duong, ninth grade, Lakota East Freshman School
- Grand Prize: Jane Fleetwood, eighth grade, Hopewell Junior