Friday, August 01, 2014

City’s MLK observance, essay contest returning with focus on bullying

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 1/10/2014

The venue has changed, but the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day has not.

The celebration is scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at Ottawa Municipal Auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., Ottawa, and is open to the public.

The venue has changed, but the annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day has not.

The celebration is scheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 19 at Ottawa Municipal Auditorium, 301 S. Hickory St., Ottawa, and is open to the public.

Celebration coordinator Richard Jackson, on accepting a King Day proclamation from the City of Ottawa Wednesday night, told city commissioners the event was moved to OMA to promote the continued use of the auditorium. The annual celebration previously had taken place on the Ottawa University campus, 1001 S. Cedar St., Ottawa. But OU still will be a part of this year’s activities.

Dennis Tyner, dean of Health Sciences for Ottawa University, is expected to be guest speaker at the event, Jackson said.

The activities also will include recognizing the winners of this year’s essay contest. Jackson told city commissioners more than 280 essays from youths representing all the school districts in Franklin County were submitted, with 144 of those coming from Ottawa Middle School sixth-graders. Winners will be selected for each grade level, Jackson said, in addition to a mayor’s choice winner. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winning essays.

The essay contest theme is “What would you do to stop bullying?” Jackson said.

“That might seem like an odd topic for the King holiday, but when you stop to think about the things that went on, certainly bullying was involved,” Jackson said.

King, a Baptist minister and leader of the Civil Rights movement in the United States until his assassination in 1968, wrote about what people could do to confront bullying in a number of his writings, Jackson said.

Choirs from Bethany Chapel Baptist Church, 131 S. Poplar St., Ottawa, and First Baptist Church, 410 S. Hickory St., Ottawa, will be providing musical entertainment, Jackson said.

Jan. 20 marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day across the country. Since 2002, the City of Ottawa has officially recognized the day as a city holiday.

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