Virtual panel to discuss advancing equality


The Delaware County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and Ohio Wesleyan University invite members of the community to learn how to better promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within their area of influence during a virtual panel discussion debuting at 8:30 a.m. 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 Hayes High School in Delaware

• 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. The prerecorded panel discussion will debut on MLK Day on Ohio Wesleyan’s Facebook page at

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 in Delaware County. 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 St., Delaware, OH 43015.

Special to The Gazette

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