The Way Forward

Delaware’s 2021 MLK Celebration to Feature Virtual Panel Discussion on Advancing Equality

By Cole Hatcher

Martin Luther King Jr. at 1963 March on Washington
Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington. (Photo by Rowland Scherman, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

DELAWARE, Ohio – The Delaware County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and Ohio Wesleyan University invite you to learn how to better promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within your area of influence during a virtual panel discussion debuting at 8:30 a.m. EST Jan. 18 on Facebook.

The panel, moderated by Dawn Chisebe, Ohio Wesleyan’s interim chief diversity officer, will feature local experts who will analyze civil rights issues and efforts over the past year and discuss the way forward to improve equality within their areas. The discussion marks the celebration committee’s 28th annual commemoration event.

Participating on the 2021 MLK panel are:

  • Francine Butler, teacher and intervention specialist at Delaware City Schools’ Hayes High School
  • Karriejoi Coit, executive director of Delaware’s Second Ward Community Initiative
  • Ruchelle Pride, assessment center supervisor/project manager for the Delaware County Juvenile Court and executive board president of the Second Ward Community Initiative
  • Jason Timpson, director of Ohio Wesleyan’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs
  • Tamika Vinson-Reid, co-chair of the Delaware African American Heritage Council

The Rev. Dr. Ruth McCants Locke of Zion AME Church will provide the benediction. Acclaimed soprano Brianna Robinson, Ohio Wesleyan Class of 2015, will sing "Life Ev'ry Voice and Sing." The pre-recorded panel discussion will debut on MLK Day on Ohio Wesleyan’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OhioWesleyanUniversity and be shared via other social media for information and inspiration any time.

Though the pandemic prevents the celebration committee from hosting its traditional Sunday worship service and Monday community breakfast this year, the group hopes to hold both events again in the future.

The committee also continues to raise funds to support initiatives including the MLK Scholarship, awarded annually to one or more outstanding high school graduates of Delaware City and County schools. Since 1990, the committee has awarded more than $25,000 in scholarships. Scholarship contributions payable to the MLK Celebration Committee may be mailed to Jennifer Ruhe, Willis Education Center, 74 W. William Street, Delaware, OH 43015.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more undergraduate majors than many universities its size and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.