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Jan. 6, 2017

 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of
hope, justice and inclusion has inspired citizens of all ages and races for
more than five decades.

 

During IPS’ “36th Annual
Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” keynote speaker Dr. Kent Millard will
share the story of how the civil rights leader’s call for assistance from young
theology students in the 1960s changed his life.Dr. Kent Millard

 

“In March 1965, I was a seminary student
at Boston University School of Theology studying to be a United Methodist minister,”
said Dr. Millard, president of United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio and
former senior pastor at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in
Indianapolis. “Dr. King called the seminary and asked for some students to
join him in marching for voting rights in Selma, Ala.  I joined others in
that march. In April 1965, Dr. King led an open housing march in Boston
and I served as one of his bodyguards.”

 

Not only did Dr. Millard become part of
the historic Civil Rights Movement, his efforts in support of Dr. King’s work
had a lasting effect on his personal life.

 

“These experiences had a profound impact
on my life. Dr. King often said that ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness,
only light can drive out darkness.’ I have always tried to light a candle in the
midst of dark times rather than curse the darkness. Because of Dr.
King’s impact on my wife and me, we became an interracial family when we
adopted our African-American daughter when she was one week old.”

 

Dr. Millard will be introduced by his
granddaughter, Taylor Hall, a junior at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High
School. Ted Green, producer of the award-winning documentary “Attucks: The School That Opened a City,”
will serve as the guest emcee.

 

The tribute will feature musical performances
by choirs and soloists from Clarence Farrington School 61, Arlington Community
High School and Crispus Attucks. Dance magnet students from Broad Ripple Magnet
High School for the Arts and Humanities will also perform.

            

“This program is designed to help
students of all ages acknowledge and appreciate the struggles of those who went
before them,” said Program Coordinator Patricia Payne. “It sends the urgent
message that we must be willing to develop an educated mind, spirited work ethic,
courageous leadership, and an undaunted commitment to social justice and racial
equity.” 

 

Dr. Millard said the life and work of Dr.
King has lasting lessons that are still relevant for our students and for
future generations.

 

“I hope students will remember Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. as a courageous and faithful Christian pastor who
transformed our nation to be more inclusive of all people and taught us to
stand up for justice and fair treatment for all people.”

 

The “36th
Annual Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” takes place at 10 a.m. on Friday,
Jan. 13. This year’s program will be televised from the historic Crispus
Attucks High School and viewed in classrooms throughout the school district and in the community on the ETC Channel and on WFYI. The tribute is free and open to
the public.

 

The program will
be rebroadcast on WFYI 1 at 2 p.m. Jan. 22 and at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 on
WFYI 3.