LIMA — Derry Glenn is changing up his annual marching tribute to the late civil rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..
Instead of marching to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center Park, the I Have a Dream Committee is taking the Walking for the Dream to the Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center, the 6th Ward councilor said.
“Martin Luther King meant a lot to us. This is a very, very important day to celebrate,” Glenn said. “I always tell my kids if it wasn’t for Martin Luther King we wouldn’t be where we’re at today, different jobs, different opportunities that people have today. I don’t think I’d have my opportunity where I’m at today, either my job or also being a city councilman.”
The march is just one in a series of events starting today and through the week to honor the life and legacy of the civil rights pioneer both in Lima and elsewhere across the region.
“Derry Glenn has been doing this walk for a number of years. He has decided to change it up a little bit and have it end here at the Cheryl Allen Center,” said Vickie Shurelds, the center’s executive director. “I’m really excited about that because 2013 is such an exciting year I think for us not only as Americans but certainly as African-Americans. It’s almost like there’s a sign with the inauguration happening on the same day as we acknowledge Dr. King’s dream. I feel like we’re basking the legacy as we walk toward the dream.”
The I Have a Dream Committee and Cheryl Allen Center will also co-host the I Have a Dream Banquet on Sunday at Lima Towers. The event honors residents who work toward keeping King’s legacy alive, Glenn said.
On Monday, Sigma Mu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will host its 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast at the Veterans Memorial Civic Center in Lima. Evelyn Davis-Smith, the sorority’s past president, said the breakfast and a breakfast cereal collection for the Allen County Veterans Food Pantry are designed to honor the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement.
“We were trying to think of where things were then when the movement started and where we are now having an African-American president and all,” Davis-Smith said.
Moses Brewer, multicultural relations manager for MillerCoors, will be the keynote speaker for the breakfast, Davis-Smith said.
Elsewhere across the region, a number of other events are also planned, particularly on area college campuses.
At Bluffton University, two annual campus events — the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Forum and the Keeney Peace Lecture — will take place on Tuesday. Dr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart, associate professor of higher education and student affairs at Bowling Green State University, will talk about King’s legacy during an 11 a.m. presentation in Founders Hall as part of the forum. At 7:30 p.m., Tim Nafziger, interim assistant director of Christian Peacemaker Teams, will give a lecture about peacemaking and technology in Yoder Recital Hall.
Faculty and students at Ohio Northern University in Ada will celebrate King’s legacy with events on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. A cultural conversation hour is set for 11:45 a.m. Tuesday in room 301 of Heterick Memorial Library. On Wednesday, artifacts from King’s visit to ONU on Jan. 11, 1968, will be on display on the first floor of Heterick, during two sessions: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. On Thursday, Ellis Cose, an award-winning journalist and author, will speak at 7 p.m. in ONU’s McIntosh Ballroom.