STLCC-Florissant Valley and NCCU's 2024 Dr. MLK Jr. Celebration
Monday, January 8, 2024
St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley and North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice will host their annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Monday, Feb. 5.
The celebration’s reception is from 5-6 p.m. in the Student Center, Multipurpose Room, located at 3400 Pershall Road. The program follows from 6-7:30 p.m.
The Rev. Darryl Gray, a 40-plus-year veteran of the Civil and Human Rights Movement in the United States and Canada, will speak on the celebration’s theme, "Now is the Time."
Gray has worked as senior staff for various civil rights organizations and iconic civil rights activists including the NAACP, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the late John Lewis, the late Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, and the late Coretta Scott King, among others.
Gray currently serves as senior pastor of the Greater Fairfax Missionary Baptist Church, located at 2941 Greer Ave., in St. Louis; director general for the Progressive National Baptist Convention Inc.; second vice president of the Midwest Region, PNBC; and chairperson of the St. Louis Detention Facilities Oversight Board.
"I am not a pastor because I’m an activist; I’m an activist because I am a pastor," Gray said. "God has called all of us to live for the sake of others, and that means serving in the valley more than celebrating on the mountaintop."
Keeping with tradition, north St. Louis County students will lead and participate in the celebration. The celebration's student emcee is Grace Ford, a sophomore at STLCC-Florissant Valley and dual enrollment senior at Hazelwood East High school. STLCC-Florissant Valley student speakers include sophomores and general transfer studies majors , Arianna Kimbrough, Bailey Smith and Donnie Henderson.
Participants will enjoy a musical performance of James Weldon Johnson's "Lift Every Voice and Sing" by vocalist Alayna Epps, former student, accompanied by Paul Higdon, DMA, professor of music and pianist, and hear winning speeches from NCCU's Oratorical Contest.
Guests will also learn more about why St. Louis County Justice Services is being honored with the 2024 Dr. Rance Thomas Excellence in Community Partnership Award.
"We are especially proud of the opportunities that the St. Louis County Justice Center is making available through the Progress Attained Through College Education program," said Jeff L. Pittman, Ph.D., chancellor of St. Louis Community College.
"The center offered its residents with an opportunity to earn an education and pathway to a prosperous future by taking classes through STLCC. The results are impressive. Students are doing more than simply earning college credit, they are excelling with a 3.49 cumulative GPA after the first year. We are exceptionally proud of this program and thrilled to call the St. Louis County Justice Center a partner."
Children can also participate in the celebration by coloring thanks to sheets designed by Graphic Communications Adjunct Faculty Ella Dueker's Computer Art Studio students Zach Babbitt, a freshman, majoring in graphic communications; Aime Dominguez, a sophomore, majoring in graphic communications; and Calaya Forrester, a freshman, majoring in interior design.
Due to the inclement weather, the original celebration planned for Jan. 16 (along with the contingency date of Jan. 18) at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley was rescheduled.