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The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission announces 2016 “A Day of Service” MEGA KINGFEST festivities
Arun Gandhi, South Africa Native and Grandson of world-renowned legendary champion of Nonviolence to address thousands
The largest event of its kind in the nation honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. draws National sponsors, celebrities to give back to the community
Little Rock, Arkansas-The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission
The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission is pleased to announce 2016 King Holiday events honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mark your calendar for the observance of the congressionally legislated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which is a United States holiday that marks the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and is observed on the third Monday of January each year. The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission (AMLKC) announces the 2016 A Day of Service-“A Day On, Not a Day Off” MEGA KINGFEST event on Monday, January 18, 2016, UALR Jack Stephens Center, 2801 South University Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204. The MEGA KINGFEST full day observance will pay tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through life, love, and laughter. Highlights include the keynote speaker, Arun Gandhi, grandson of the late Mohandas Gandhi and a free family comedy show featuring Marlon Wayans. The 2016 “A Day of Service” MEGA KINGFEST will be an event-filled day providing attendees and volunteers the opportunity to participate in one of several FREE programs including:
• The 2016 Annual Interfaith Prayer Breakfast
• The Day of Service Celebratory Event
• MLK Birthday Bash
• Nonviolence Youth Summit
• Celebrity Meet and Greet
The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will kick off the highly anticipated MEGA KINGFEST with the 2016 Annual Interfaith Prayer Breakfast at 7:00 AM followed by a special ribbon cutting ceremony and press conference on the steps of the Jack Stephens Center. The Prayer Breakfast is co-sponsored by the Beta Pi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Little Rock. This year’s keynote speaker will be Presiding Elder Jimmy Lee Thompson of Lakeland, Florida. Presiding Elder Jimmy Thompson is a gifted and powerful preacher from the Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Lakeland, Florida. His Pastoral Experience: 32 successful years (from Loxahatchee 1member to Bethel Lakeland with 1,500 members) In September of 2011, he celebrated 40 years in the ministry. On December 3, 2011, he was appointed Presiding Elder of the Tremendous Tampa District of the West Coast Conference. The Interfaith Prayer Breakfast is a “must attend” FREE event for King Holiday. The event attracts hundreds of attendees including city officials, area clergy, dignitaries, and prominent interfaith, business, and community leaders. “Dr. King was a great influence on so many in the interfaith community during his lifetime and even to this day. He was able to intersect in the civil rights movement community leaders, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Protestants, Catholics, and they all came together, sang together and marched together,” says DuShun Scarbrough, Chief Executive Officer of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission. In August, Scarbrough’s hard work, tenure, and dedication were recognized by the Arkansas State Employees Association. Each year the organization sponsors the Outstanding Arkansas State Employee of the year award through a process in which honorees are nominated. Scarbrough was announced as one of five finalists for the 2015 Outstanding Employee of the Year award. According to DuShun Scarbrough, Chief Executive Officer of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, The AMLKC also joins several Chambers of Commerce to strengthen partnerships as they travel throughout the state. “We are pleased that the Benton Chamber of Commerce is coordinating our Ribbon cutting ceremony and helping make our big announcement.”
Governor Asa Hutchinson will provide King Holiday reflections during the breakfast and King Holiday Commemorative musical selections will be provided by Arkansas native DC Washington and legendary gospel music recording artist Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers. Mr. Melvin Williams has one of the most distinctive gospel voices in the music industry and is one part of The Williams Brothers that was founded in 1960 by his father. For more than 50 years, he has performed as part of the world-renowned group. The group has received six Grammy Award nominations and has shared the stage with talented artists such as Reverend Al Green, Patti LaBelle, Steve Winwood, Chaka Khan, and Stevie Wonder. Mr. Williams combines gospel, soul, jazz, and hip-hop in all of his performances bridging the gap between traditional and contemporary gospel music. The 2016 Annual Interfaith Prayer Breakfast is FREE and open to the public and begins promptly at 7:00 AM. Doors open to the public at 6:30 AM.
Immediately following the Prayer Breakfast, The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will host the “Celebratory Component” of “A Day of Service” – A Day On, Not A Day Off” at 9:30 A.M. on Monday, January 18, 2016, UALR Jack Stephens Center, 2801 South University Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204. Immediately following, the AMLKC will hold the “Service Component” of “A Day of Service – A Day On, Not A Day Off” to feed the at-risk and provide other worthwhile service activities such as health screenings, job counseling, and hygiene kits. “A Day of Service – A Day On, Not Day Off” MEGA KINGFEST is FREE and open to the public. “Following a comprehensive SWOT analysis of eight years of programming, I found it was time to rebrand and repackage our “A Day of Service” event and other programming, says DuShun Scarbrough, CEO of the AMLKC. A well-known perfectionist, Scarbrough is raising the bar on his own programming and promises audiences more following rave reviews of the 2015 “A Day of Service.” “From time to time, we have to revisit what programs we have and make them relevant. This rebranding will positively impact our programming. Growth requires repositioning, restructuring, and re-launching. It is not that what we had was not great, but the question is how can we make it greater? There is no ceiling to what we have in store. So in 2016, get ready for a monumental event like no other, “A Day of Service” MEGA KINGFEST.”
The 2016 “A Day of Service” MEGA KINGFEST promises to deliver a star-studded event with daytime television’s Eric Braeden returning to the program as the Master of Ceremonies. Thousands poured into the Benton Event Center to hear keynote speaker Eric Braeden also known as Victor Newman of the “Young and the Restless” as he shared his reflections and memories of his parents sending him to the United States on a boat when he was 14 years-old. “We are pleased to welcome Mr. Braeden back to the “2016 MEGA KINGFEST.” He was so inspired by the events last year that he wanted to come back and be a part of the 2016 event. We are honored to have someone of his caliber returning to play such as big part. “I requested to come back and celebrate King Holiday with Arkansas and my friend, DuShun Scarbrough,” says Braeden. Because of the programs’ notoriety, the event has attracted several local, national, and global sponsors. The 2015 “A Day of Service” observance at the Benton Event Center was recognized by Gannett-owned television media outlet Today’s THV as the largest event in the nation dedicated to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Retrieved from http://www.thv11.com/story/news/local/benton-bryant/2015/01/19/largest-day-of-service-event-nationwide/22015879/. “This acknowledgement automatically shifted the agency into national prominence, therefore the challenge facing me now is coordinating even bigger events for the 2016 programming season; the only way left is up,” says Scarbrough. “We have already confirmed busloads of residents coming from as far away as Harrison and Walnut Ridge to the MEGA KINGFEST. This is evidence of our statewide impact and there are people who believe in what we’re doing.”
The 2016 “A Day of Service” MEGA KINGFEST keynote speaker will be Arun Manilal Gandhi, grandson of the late legendary champion for nonviolence Mohandas Gandhi. Gandhi has given many speeches about nonviolence in many countries. Born in 1934 in Durban, South Africa, Arun is the fifth grandson of India’s legendary leader, Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi. Growing up under the discriminatory apartheid laws of South Africa, he was beaten by “white” South Africans for being too black and “black” South Africans for being too white; so, Arun sought eye-for-an-eye justice. However, he learned from his parents and grandparents that justice does not mean revenge, it means transforming the opponent through love and suffering. Grandfather Gandhi taught Arun to understand nonviolence through understanding violence. “If we know how much passive violence we perpetrate against one another we will understand why there is so much physical violence plaguing societies and the world,” Gandhi said. Through daily lessons, Arun says, he learned about violence and about anger. Arun shares these lessons all around the world and will share them at the 2016 MEGA KINGFEST. Gandhi will be introduced by legendary local civil rights activist Dr. Annie Abrams, who was instrumental in hosting the state’s first King Holiday program on the steps of the state capitol and renaming a street in Dr. King’s honor. “For the 2016 MEGA KINGFEST, we were looking to incorporate more multicultural elements for this event. Dr. King influenced people of all races and nationalities. His own life and philosophies were heavily influenced by Mohandas Gandhi and we wanted to bring that diversity to the MEGA KINGFEST,” says Scarbrough. In alignment with the multicultural element, the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will also feature an international showcase featuring Ballet Quetzalli, a dynamic youth Ballet Folklorico dance troupe. The “A Day of Service” Celebratory Component is free and it is open to the public, and will begin promptly at 9:30 AM.
The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission celebrates Dr. King’s Legacy through Life, Love, and Laughter with free family comedy showcase featuring comedian Marlon Wayans
The state’s Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission proudly announces the 2016 MLK Birthday Bash and Nonviolence Youth Summit celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through life, love, and laughter. The Commission will host the event targeted towards youth and community service initiatives on Monday, January 18, 2016, 12:30 PM at the Jack Stephens Center, located on the campus of the University of Arkansas, 2801 South University Avenue, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204. “The MLK Birthday Bash gives the King Commission an opportunity to partner with different schools to teach youth about community service and how Dr. King attributed greatness to service. The Commission will incorporate Computer Literacy and Economic Development strategies into youth programming to align with the goals of the new administration under the leadership of Honorable Governor Asa Hutchinson. “We are pleased to partner with Nettleton Junior High School, Jonesboro, Arkansas to host this event. Our L.E.A.D. interns will also present Dr. King’s Six famous principles of Nonviolence,” says Scarbrough. During the Nonviolence Youth Summit and MLK Birthday Bash, the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will host a free family comedy show featuring actor, model, producer, comedian writer and director, Marlon Wayans. Wayans has starred in films such as Scary Movie, Scary Movie 2, A Haunted House, A Haunted House 2, Requiem for a Dream, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and The Heat in addition to In Living Color and The Wayans Brothers.
The Nonviolence Youth Summit program series is an increasingly popular program that provides tools and workshops for students across the state of Arkansas. Through the Nonviolence Youth Summit, the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission partners with schools and districts across the state to teach kids about Dr. King. “We try to instill training and ideology to help bridge gaps of racial divide.” We want to start conversations about race before “things happen.” Through these conferences we try to dispel myths as well as promote harmony, nonviolence, and racial diversity so that we can have solutions in place.” Scarbrough was trained to administer and teach nonviolence principles along with commissioners and staff by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolence Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia. He incorporates elements of the training into current Nonviolence Youth Summit programming initiatives. In addition to the Nonviolence Youth Summit, the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission also focuses on youth leadership and professional development through programs such as L.E.A.D. and Dream Keepers. The Nonviolence Youth Summit is sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
During the 2016 “A Day of Service” MEGA KINGFEST festivities, several individuals, and organizations will be honored for community service and contributions to their communities:
• Pastor Mark DeYmaz and the members of Mosaic Church, 2016 Economic Development Award
• Reverend Hezekiah Stewart, 2016 Humanitarian Award Recipient
• The City of Harrison, 2016 Dream Keepers Award Recipients
• Kathy Byrd, Nettleton Junior High School, the 2016 L.E.A.D. Award Recipient
• The Hoxie 21 of Lawrence County, the 2016 Humanities Award Recipients
• Chris Masingill, Delta Regional Authority, 2016 Salute to Greatness Award Recipient
• Attorney Phil Kaplan, 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
• Dr. Jim Carr, Vice-President of Harding University, 2016 Community Service Award Recipient
All events are FREE and open to the public. Sponsors include host venue UALR, Rock Region Metro, Arkansas Talks Magazine, Diamond Sponsor Larry Carpenter of Holiday Inn Presidential, Friendship Platinum Level Sponsor FedEx Freight Incorporated, 103.7 The Buzz, Power 92, The Praise Network and Cumulus Media, Acxiom, Target, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Conway Corporation, Bank of the Ozarks, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Colton’s, Delta Regional Authority, Krispy Kreme, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, Arkansas Minority Health Commission, Entergy, Comcast Universal, Saline Memorial, Everett Buick GMC, Allison Memorial Presbyterian Church, Just Communities of Arkansas, State Farm Insurance, Denny’s, The Olive Garden, Safelite Glass, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola and Wal-Mart; also, it is sponsored in part by a grant through the Arkansas Humanities Council.
The “Day of Service” MEGA KINGFEST is one of many programs authored by Chief Executive Officer, Mr. DuShun Scarbrough. Scarbrough was selected from more than 100 applicants to lead the flailing agency, which was plagued by arguing, in-fighting, and financial mismanagement in 2008 after the agency’s transition. When Scarbrough took office, he had already drafted the programming to put in motion at the Commission. At the recent Commissioners’ Retreat and In-service, Scarbrough introduced new commissioners and provided intensive training to make sure they were equipped to carry out their terms successfully. During the in-service, The Commission received high commendations from the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration for stewardship, transparency, and excellence in financial management of the agency’s fiscal affairs.
The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission coordinates several programs annually to incorporate nonviolence principles and training relevant to today’s generation of young leaders. L.E.A.D. is an acronym for Leadership, Education, and Acceptance of Diversity) a mentorship and leadership program designed by Scarbrough for the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission (AMLKC). L.E.A.D. ® is designed to enhance today’s youth through social, academic, and career opportunities. The L.E.A.D. program identifies and nurtures leaders, promotes education and acceptance of diversity within the communities throughout the state of Arkansas. The Dream Keepers program helps empower youth to gain an appreciation of community service through teamwork. “Dream Keepers involvement helps youth make choices that will have a positive impact on their lives. Youth involved in L.E.A.D and Dream keepers also participate in Operation Appreciation within the city of Little Rock. “Operation Appreciation sponsors festivities of fun, food, and celebration to recognize the citizens of Arkansas and our partnerships and demonstrate how much we appreciate them. Operation Appreciation was a time out we took to honor and celebrate those heroes of our community who have been the most gracious supporters of the King Commission and thank them for all that they have done in continued service to our beloved community.” It was the grand finale of a fun filled summer of events, community service projects, fundraisers, and fieldtrips. Tutorial programs, neighborhood clean-up, and feeding the hungry are examples of some of the projects,” says Scarbrough. “More than 500 youth and young adults were in attendance as we honored our supporters.”
This year the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission released the state’s first King Commemorative License plate, becoming one of five states to offer it. “It feels good to travel Arkansas and see these license plates on cars and knowing that I was able to be a part of this becoming a reality in my state. I would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thanks’ to the people of Arkansas who have purchased a license plate. A car is a very personal item and this shows that there are people out there who support what we believe in.” The mission of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission is to promote and preserve the life and legacy of Dr. King throughout the State of Arkansas, while promoting the principles of nonviolence and equality among all citizens.
For Media Interviews Contact:
DuShun Scarbrough, Agency Spokesman
Phone :( 501) 683-1300
Fax: (501) 683-1310
When & Where
Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission
The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission is a state agency empowered to serve all Arkansans. It was created in 1993 by Act 1216 of the Arkansas General Assembly to promote the legacy and philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the State of Arkansas and abroad. The Arkansas MLK, Jr. Commission works closely with the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia and other social service entities alike.
The mission of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission is to promote understanding and acceptance of nonviolence and human equality as a way of building community among all Arkansans and abroad in an effort to ensure that those involved acquire an enhanced knowledge of the tenets and morals of other races and cultures that co-exist within the state's borders.
Purpose and Goals
Promote racial harmony, understanding, community service, respect, and goodwill among all Arkansans and abroad
Promote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Six Principles Of Nonviolence
Promote awareness and appreciation of the Civil Rights movement and advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy, principles, and legacy throughout the State of Arkansas and abroad
Promote awareness and appreciation of the Civil Rights movement and advocacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s principles and legacy
Develop, coordinate, and advise the Governor and General Assembly of appropriate ceremonies and activities throughout the state relating to the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday and Holiday
Promote understanding and acceptance of nonviolence and human equality as a way of building community among all Arkansans