An evening of songs, speeches, and awards occurred on Thursday, January 18. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in Brush Performance Hall honored both community and campus leaders in the hour-long ceremony.
The Inspirational Voices of Praise, Mount Union's own Gospel choir, sang various songs throughout the evening. Their first song led into opening remarks from Mr. Ron Holden, the director of diversity and inclusion on campus. Dean Frazier, vice president for student affairs, then introduced the evening's keynote speaker Mark Kabban, who spoke on the topic of creating inclusive relationships in the modern world.
Kabban, a Doctoral candidate at Harvard University, runs the non-profit organization YALLA, which helps refugee youth achieve their scholastic goals through their love of soccer. Kabban stated in his lecture that refugees have given over $66 billion to the United States government in appreciation for their newfound country and its freedoms. Kabban also stated that the notion that Radical Islamic terror attacks account for a smaller percentage of total US terror attacks; following this, Kabban emphasized the need to bring this information to the forefront of discussion: “It is important for us to challenge that narrative every time it is given to us.”
After Kabban's speech, the awards portion of the evening began. To represent the Alliance community, Mr. D. Matthew Hamilton and Mrs. Debbie Hamilton were honored for their work with the Salvation Army. This past year, the Hamilton's organized a 5K run to kick off the “Red Bucket” winter donation season. The award for Mount Union staff went to Abby Honaker Schroeder, the director of the regula center for public service and civil engagement, for her organization of the Raider Aid benefit to help the victims of the 2017 North Atlantic Hurricane Season. Finally, Brianna Boehlke won both the Martin Luther King Prize in the student category and a commendation from the Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha for her dedication to social issues in her scholastic work.