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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy Commemorated at MCCC

1/17/12


West Windsor, N.J. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was remembered at a standing-room only event at Mercer County Community College's James Kerney Campus in Trenton on Monday, Jan. 16. "I Can Succeed" was this year's theme, which was celebrated through music, dance, poetry, and a keynote address delivered by Mr. John E. Harmon, Sr., president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.

A Trenton resident and MCCC alumnus, Harmon spoke to the audience about his own climb from poverty into a successful career in banking. From a family of seven children, Harmon was the first to go to college. "I am humbled and honored to speak at the school that gave me my start," he said. Harmon is the recipient of the NAACP Freedom Award for Business and the Leadership Award from 100 Black Men of New Jersey. As a manager at the former Chemical Bank, he established the company's Affordable Housing Loan Program.

Pulling out his own tattered copy of Dr. King's book, "Why We Can't Wait," Harmon told his audience how King has inspired his own life.

King was "an ordinary man who did extraordinary things," said Harmon, adding that King laid the foundation for all African Americans to have a better life.

Harmon challenged his audience to consider who in the African American community has done half as much as King did during his brief 13 years as an activist. "Some of us have been around much longer than that," he said, adding that the only way to change the community for the better is to have ambition and work hard to make the world a better place like King did.

The day's events included entertainment by the Brothers of Faith Mime Team and MCCC's African American Student Organization (AASO) troupe, "Born Free," who performed a spiritually uplifting dance.

The AASO's advisor, Lucia Brown-Joseph, who is Mercer's bursar, announced the winners of a poetry contest that challenged students to write poems about ambition. High school students from MCCC's Youth College and students from the Youth, Education and Employment Success Center also participated, reading quotes by famous African Americans. Girl Scout Troop 70992 of Lawrence/Ewing/Trenton also participated.

MCCC President Dr. Patricia Donahue reminded audience members that Mercer's goal is to help students who have lost their way to get back on the road to success. "We all know Dr. King's dream was for all of our children to have a better way and a better life, and that's why Mercer is here," she said.

Among those in attendance were Dr. Gwendolyn Harris, vice chair of Mercer's Board of Trustees; Hon. Pasquale Colavita, Jr., chair of Mercer County Freeholders; Dr. L. Diane Campbell, executive dean for Student Affairs for Mercer; and W. Ruth Rosser, a Mercer County commissioner and MCCC Foundation Board member.

The event was presented by the college's African American Student Organization and Youth College.

For a gallery of photos taken by Trenton Times photographer Michael Mancuso, visit the Times website here.

 

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John E. Harmon, Sr., president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and an MCCC alumnus, gave the keynote address.
MCCC's African American Student Organization troupe, "Born Free," performed a spiritually uplifting dance at the celebration. Pictured, from left, are students Marsha Pierre, Dehaven Rogers and Taylor Pickett-Stokes.
MCCC's Brothers of Faith Mime Team performed as part of the celebration. Pictured are Marrche Miller, left, and Jahmir Miller.

Members of Girl Scout Troop 70992 of Lawrence/Ewing/Trenton led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of event They are pictured with MCCC Communication Professor Alvyn Haywood, master of ceremonies.