Delaware’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observances to Feature Local Youth

Music, Messages Encourage People to ‘Be the Difference that Makes the Difference’

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University and the Delaware County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee will observe the 2014 anniversary of King’s birthday with three days of “Be the Difference That Makes the Difference” programming that includes music and messages from local youth, documentary screenings and discussions, a worship service, and the 21st annual MLK Breakfast Celebration.

Pastor Kimberly Strain

Pastor Kimberly Strain

The 2014 observance will begin with the 29th annual Delaware-area worship service at 3 p.m. Jan. 19 at Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, 140 S. Washington St. The service will feature remarks from Pastor Kimberly Strain of Delaware’s Outreach Christian Center.

Strain holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and black world studies from Ohio Wesleyan and a master’s degree in pastoral counseling from Methodist Theological School of Ohio. She is the founder and senior pastor of Outreach Christian Center, where she is assisted by her husband, Minister Harry Strain. The Center, 77 B London Road, opened in October 1998. Kimberly Strain, a 2007 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan, also works as managing coordinator of the OWU education department’s Curriculum Resource Center.

Elijah Welch

Elijah Welch

The 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. observance will continue at 7:45 a.m. Jan. 20 with the 21st annual MLK Breakfast Celebration in the Benes Room of Ohio Wesleyan’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Avenue. Bishop Gregory Vaughn Palmer, Episcopal leader of the Ohio West Area of the United Methodist Church since September 2012, will serve as keynote speaker. The Ohio West Area stretches from Marietta on the Ohio River to just west of Port Clinton on Lake Erie.

Palmer was raised in a church home in Philadelphia. His father is the Rev. Herbert Palmer, a retired United Methodist clergy. Gregory Palmer completed his undergraduate work at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and earned his Master of Divinity from the Duke Divinity School. He also has honorary degrees from Baldwin-Wallace College, Iowa Wesleyan College, and Simpson College.

Tanisha Murphy

Tanisha Murphy

The Sunday and Monday programs will feature the award-winning video production of Phil Frentsos with Elijah Welch singing his Christian rap song “Teenage Problems.” Both Frentsos and Welch are seniors at Delaware Hayes High School. In addition, Tanisha Murphy, a 2013 Buckeye Valley High School graduate, 2013 MLK Scholarship recipient, and current Ohio Wesleyan freshman, will share a message about overcoming obstacles and about preserving and embracing being different to make a difference.

The Jan. 20 breakfast buffet will begin at 7:45 a.m., followed by the program at 8:30 a.m. Individual tickets are $20, with eight-person table sponsorships available for $160. Proceeds help to fund Delaware County MLK Scholarships. For reservations, contact Rosalind Scott, celebration committee chair, at (740) 368-3386 or Breakfast reservations and payment are requested before Jan. 16, although a limited number of tickets may be available at the door.

Two documentary film screenings and discussions will complete this year’s MLK observance. A free clips screening and discussion of “Freedom Riders” will begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Bayley Room of Ohio Wesleyan’s Beeghly Library, 43 Rowland Ave.

The Emmy award-winning documentary chronicles the activities of more than 400 Civil Rights “freedom riders” who rode interstate buses through the Deep South for six months in 1961.The discussion will be guided by Hasan Jeffries, Ph.D., associate professor of history at The Ohio State University and author of “Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt.” The Ohio Wesleyan Libraries received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to host the “Freedom Riders” event.

The local 2014 MLK observance will conclude with a free community screening and discussion of “White Like Me: Race, Racism & White Privilege in America,” based on the work of anti-racist educator and author Tim Wise. This event will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 23 in Benes Room B inside Ohio Wesleyan’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave.

The full documentary screening, sponsored by the OWU President’s Commission on Racial and Cultural Diversity, will be followed by an audience discussion facilitated by Paul Dean, Ph.D., Ohio Wesleyan assistant professor of sociology and anthropology.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private, coed university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world practice. OWU’s 1,850 students represent 42 states and 37 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at

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