AC to honor MLK with annual celebration

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Sherman Assistant City Manager Terrence Steele speaks during Austin College's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in 2021.

Austin College students and members of the community will gather Monday to pay honor to one of America's greatest civil rights leaders. The college will host its 18th annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration which highlights his achievements in fighting for civil rights and the impact it has had on the generations that followed him.

The event will be held at 8:30 a.m. at the Sally and Jim Nation Theater at Austin College. Masks are required for people attending on campus.

The annual event is held each year on the third Monday of January — a day that has borne MLK's name since it was declared a federal holiday in 1986. Each year the college invites speakers, including current AC students, to speak on the importance of King's legacy, his vision and their own dreams of the future.

This year's keynote address with be given by Carllos Lassiter, AC vice president of student affairs and chief inclusion and diversity officer. Through his role at the college,  Lassiter has worked to make inclusion and diversity a core value at the college and make it a welcoming campus for everyone.

AC Sophomore Clemon White will deliver the student address during this year's event. White currently serves as a first-year seminar peer mentor, STAT ambassador and historian for the Pre-Law Society and Black Expressions. White is expected to speak on ways that MLK's efforts can be used to address racial issues in today's society.

Previous speakers at the annual event include former NFL linebacker and Superbowl champion George Koonce, author Kim Andrews and former Dallas Cowboy Herschel Walker. Last year's address was delivered by Sherman Assistant City Manager Terrence Steele.

In addition to the addresses, the event also serves as a fundraiser for the Grayson County chapter of the NAACP, who uses the funds for local scholarships. Donations will be accepted.

Attendees are asked to register for the event at Austin College's website. While there, attendees can chose between attending the event in person or watching it remotely via a livestream on the internet.