27th annual MLK Unity Walk scheduled Friday

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

The 27th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Unity Walk Celebration will be held early Friday morning at 8:15 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 18. The public is invited.

This event will begin at the historic Bank Street AME Church on 564 East Fifth Street in Russellville. The walk route will be from the church to the historic Logan County Court House where the program will be held upstairs.

Dr. Rana Johnson, the first chief diversity officer of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, will be keynote speaker. Rev. Dr. Kelly Miller Smith Jr, pastor of First Baptist Capitol Hill of Nashville and executive director of the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention USA will also speak.

The theme "Education as a Civil Right" will be addressed in the question and answer session and on how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophies impacted our lives in our community. Elected officials, Rev. Lee Fishback, Logan County High and Russellville High school systems, churches, community and the public who have been consistent supporters will participate again this year.

For more information, contact Community Projects, Inc, President Charles Neblett or Marvinia Benton Neblett at 270-803-4181 or freedom_neblett@yahoo.com.

I am delighted to meet the students and parents in the Russellville Community to honor and remember an extraordinary man that led a remarkable life,” says Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Rana Johnson, a native of Louisville joined the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education as an Associate for Equal Education Opportunities in August 1999. She became the Council’s first chief diversity officer in January 2011. Prior to her tenure at CPE, she served as a research and teaching assistant at the University of Kentucky and Eastern New Mexico University.

Dr. Johnson’s primary responsibility includes assisting Kentucky’s public postsecondary education institutions with cultivating academic communities that encourage and support diversity through the development of strategies to recruit, retain, and graduate a diverse student body, in addition to employing a diverse workforce to serve as mentors and role models to both majority and minority students.

In July 1999, Dr. Johnson presented a research paper at the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In July 2009, she traveled to Lusaka, Zambia to participate in missionary work at the Rafiki African Orphanage, in addition to visiting Johannesburg, South Africa. She has also served as guest lecturer in the Department of Family Studies at the University of Kentucky, the Department of Communication at Lexington Community College, as well as the University of Phoenix. Additionally, she conducted a half-day Diversity Training Workshop at the Office of the Attorney General in Frankfort.

Dr. Johnson assisted with the implementation of the Kentucky Plan, as well as the Partnership Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights from 1999-2008. Most recently, she assisted with the development of the 2011-15 Kentucky Public Postsecondary Education Diversity Policy and Framework for Institution Diversity Plan Development. In addition to overseeing the diversity policy, she also manages various statewide pass-through programs: Governor’s Minority Student College Preparation Program, the Southern Regional Education Board Compact for Faculty Diversity, and the Academically Proficient High School Junior and Senior Diversity Conference.

Her areas of interest include: early preparation for postsecondary education, closing the achievement gap, adapting and persisting in K-12 to expand the graduate pipeline, promoting higher education to traditional and non-traditional students in rural areas, and the impact of cultural adaptation on minority student persistence at traditionally white institutions.

Dr. Johnson received a Bachelor of Science degree from Spalding University in Mass Communication, a Master’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University in Speech Communication, and a Doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky in Intercultural and Interpersonal Communication.

Pastor Reverend Dr. Kelly Miller Smith, continues the legacy of his father as new pastor of historic First Baptist Church Capitol, downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The Kelly Miller Memorial Bridge in Nashville is named after his father, Reverend Kelly Miller Smith Sr., who strengthened the Nashville sit-in movement. He will speak about his experiences and understanding in relations to the theme.

Dr. Smith has over 30 years of religious and business leadership experience. His accomplishments include the establishment of two church-related academies, one of which is a pre-school called the Garden of Discovery Learning Center, and the other is a music school called the Mount Olive Music Academy.

He. is the executive director of the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., the Nashville-based publisher of Christian church literature.

Dr. Smith received a B.A. degree in Music from Morehouse College in 1976. He later attended Morehouse School of Religion of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1983. In 1993, he received a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, where he was a Proctor-Moss Fellow.


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