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Press Release



January 17, 2012

Community gathers for Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Unity


The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration of Unity was held Sunday in the Robert Brown Theatre at Cowley College.

“The Celebration this year was a great time to join with others and reflect on how far our society has come in terms of race relations,” Sue Saia, vice president of student affairs said.

The program featured music from the Arkansas City Middle School Magic Voices Show Choir, Delphia Jennings and a tribute video dedication in honor of Dr. King.

The event also included the presentation of the Joe B. Avery Community Spirit Award to James Fry. Fry has worked for Cowley College for several years in the volunteer services program. He was also one of the key individuals in starting volunteer service programs in the city of Arkansas City. Fry is very involved in city volunteer efforts, including Habitat for Humanity, Manna Ministries, the Burford Theatre Project, Arkalalah, and many many more. He is a cub scout leader for Pack 328, served on a city board for individuals with disabilities, serves on the ACCA school board, and is very involved in his church.

In addition to his volunteer duties, Fry has been a mentor to students who often come to him for advice and direction. He is a wonderful role model for young people, and has impacted hundreds of students’ lives.

Robert Young, former Cowley student and currently the youth pastor at the Madison Avenue Church of Christ in Wichita, provided a unique solo act performance entitled “I’m Not Just a Black Statistic.”

 Mary Beth Byers sang the National Anthem and Wes Brantley led the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Charles Jennings did an amazing job of articulating what we need to strive for as a community and a society and about respecting each other,” Saia said. “Delphia Jennings and the Magic Voices choir provided some wonderful musical entertainment and Robert Young gave a powerful performance.”

The event concluded with the song “Reach Out and Touch” with everyone holding hands and singing together.

“As overwhelming as it seemed, Dr. King took a stand in ending racial discrimination and his “dream” is becoming a reality,” Saia said.

The annual Celebration is a gathering of song, praise, fellowship, and tribute. The event was sponsored by the Arkansas City Human Relations Commission whose mission is to promote good will in the community. A reception followed the event in the Earle N. Wright Community Room in the Brown Center and refreshments were served by the Arkansas City Soroptimist Organization.