Clark State College and the City of Springfield will host the 2023 annual MLK Luncheon in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, January 13, 2023 at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center.
“This event is for everyone! Anyone interested in meeting and connecting with the different individuals and groups that help form this community are welcome,” said Breion Hawkins, diversity coordinator at Clark State. “At this event, attendees can expect to learn about Dr. King Jr.’s legacy, along with the impact it has today on equity, identity, and belonging.”
The luncheon will celebrate the life and vision of Dr. King, and honor youth peacekeepers. Awards will also be announced for the recipients of the Clark State Diversity and Inclusion Award and the Diversity Champion Award.
The Clark State Diversity and Inclusion Award recognizes leadership in diversity—either internally or externally—honoring the individual or organization who have implemented innovative strategies to promote the development of skills to meet the needs of a multicultural society.
The Diversity Champion Award, presented by Clark State and the Greater Springfield Partnership, will recognize a business in the community that believes in and supports diversity and inclusion in their place of work; one who brings awareness and ensures inclusion is an everyday reality.
Keynote Speaker will be Joey Oteng, Lawyer and Educator at The Ohio State University. He will speak on Reflecting on the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., through the lens of Equity, Identity and Belonging.
Oteng, founder of Youthful Life Works, LLC, is a Columbus, Ohio-based educator, blogger, photographer, and podcaster passionate about people, their stories, and helping them express those narratives.
“Social justice education has been necessary for self-preservation and helping others, communities, and organizations do the work of multicultural community building,” Oteng said in his biographical statement. “Being able to break down, empower, and guide others as they navigate challenging topics like race/racism, classism, etc. is such a gift.”
Also at the luncheon, Choices Ohio will be collecting donations to support young adults aging out of foster care. Donated items will be accepted and collected in the lobby the day of the event. Details about the donation items being requested will be included in your reservation confirmation email.
“As Dr. King Jr’s legacy highlights service, it was important that we thought of a way to give back. Considering King’s belief in the youth and youth’s impact towards the future, we wanted to support a cause that would support our youth,” said Hawkins. “This led us to partner with CHOICES, as part of their work supports age-out foster care youth, a population often forgotten about, but in need of support, so they can enter the world and live out their full potential. CHOICES will collect the donations and distribute based on the needs of their program members.”
The MLK Luncheon will be held in-person at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center, 275 South Limestone Street, Downtown Springfield. The event is free, however reservations are required to attend. Reservations close on Wednesday, January 4. Virtual options are not available for this event.
Make your reservation online by January 4 at: https://forms.office.com/r/bcbGWjuhMU
Additional support for this event is provided by CareSource, Mercy Health, Park National Bank and The Springfield Foundation.
“This event is important for the community, as it is a true indicator of Dr. King’s lifetime work coming to fruition,” said Hawkins. “It’s an event that builds and uplifts the community, as there’s opportunity to learn, honor, and partake in fellowship together.”