‘Unfinished Business’

Delaware’s 2023 MLK Celebration to Explore ‘The Continued March Towards Justice’

By Cole Hatcher

Nick Bankston

DELAWARE, Ohio – The Delaware County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and Ohio Wesleyan University are hosting two days of events Jan. 15-16 to explore the topic of “Unfinished Business: The Continued March Towards Justice.”

The 2023 events will kick off at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, with an online-only panel discussion on the topic “From Civil Rights to Wakanda: An Exploration of Blackness & Media.” The free virtual event will include panelists Phokeng Dailey, Ph.D., OWU assistant professor of communication; OWU student Saharla Loyan of Westerville; Jason Timpson, OWU’s director of Multicultural Student Affairs; and Tamika Vinson-Reid, co-chair of the Delaware African American Heritage Council. Dawn Chisebe, OWU’s chief diversity officer, will moderate the discussion.

The celebration will continue Monday, Jan. 16, at the 30th annual MLK Breakfast Celebration in the Benes Rooms of Ohio Wesleyan’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. Doors open and breakfast begins at 7:45 a.m. for the ticketed event. The formal program begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 9:30 a.m.

The breakfast will feature Nick Bankston as the keynote speaker. Bankston is the chief executive officer of Gladden Community House and a member of Columbus City Council, where he chairs the Small & Minority Business, Technology, and Economic Development committees. Previously, he served as project manager of Neighborhood Transformation Strategies for the City of Columbus. In that role, Bankston oversaw neighborhood revitalization planning and implementation efforts for Mayor Andrew Ginther’s priority neighborhoods.

The MLK breakfast celebration also will feature a performance by Urban Strings Columbus, directed by Catherine Willis, the group’s founder and a retired Columbus City Schools teacher. Founded in 2007, Urban Strings Columbus works to support minoritized youth who play classical string instruments.

Individual breakfast tickets are $25 and event sponsorships are $240 for a table of eight ($30 each in recognition of the event’s 30th anniversary). Proceeds support the Delaware County MLK Scholarship Program, which has awarded more than $34,000 to Delaware city and county high school students since 1990. The 2023 scholarship recipients, Ava Johnson and Sophia Guerra, will be recognized at the event.

Tickets for the breakfast may be purchased until Jan. 9 by visiting Eventbrite online at https://bit.ly/30thAnnualMLK or by mailing a check to the MLK Celebration Committee in care of the Ohio Wesleyan Chaplain’s Office / MLK Celebration, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware, OH 43015. For more information, including access to the Jan. 15 online panel discussion, visit owu.edu/MLK.

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 than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature experience, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to understand issues from multiple academic perspectives, volunteer in service to others, build a diverse and global perspective, and translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience through internships, research, and other hands-on learning. 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. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.