PNC Hosts Community MLK Day 2015 Celebration

MLK-speaker-2015-John-NunesPurdue University North Central will be the site of the 20th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration Breakfast on Monday, Jan. 19 in the PNC Library-Student-Faculty Building cafeteria. The day’s theme is "Celebrating Harmony Together: 20 Years Honoring the Vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The event, sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration Committee and hosted by Purdue North Central, is free and open to the public. The doors open at 7:15 a.m. Breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m., with the program to begin at 8 a.m. Reservations are not required.

The featured speaker will be Rev. Dr. John Nunes, the Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University, a professorship supporting the study of Christian values in public and professional life. He is the former president and CEO of Lutheran World Relief, an organization helping people in 17 countries to work their way out of poverty. Jamaican-born and Canadian-raised, Nunes holds a bachelor of Arts from Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Michigan; a master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada; and both a master of Theology and doctor of Philosophy from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Nunes is the author of numerous articles, the book, “Voices from the City: Issues and Images of Urban Preaching” and with his wife Monique Nunes, “Little Things Make Big Differences: A Story about Malaria.” With Mary Joy Philip and Charlie Collier, he edited and contributed to the recently released, “Churrasco: A Theological Feast in Honor of Vítor Westhelle.”

At Valparaiso University, he is affiliated with Christ College, the honors college of the university; Campus Ministries and teaches in the Departments of English, Theology, and International Studies. He volunteers as an assistant pastor with First Immanuel Lutheran Church in Chicago.

The event emcee will be Pastor Ron Gaston, founder of The Temple Total Fitness, a Christian gym and a community-based not-for-profit organization in Michigan City that develops the body, nourishes the mind and the spirit and serves all ages throughout the community.

Guest soloist will be Delshawn Taylor, a Psychology major on the pre-med track at Indiana University South Bend. A singer since the fourth grade, he has musically directed, accompanied, and vocally coached 10 musical productions held at The South Bend Civic Theatre and local high schools and performed lead roles with Opera Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s Opera and the University of Evansville Opera. He has written music for plays, instrumentalists, adult and children’s choirs. After the success of his first commission titled “In Remembrance,” his second commission as a composer in Atlanta will premiere in November of 2016.

The morning will include an excerpt from the play, “Rickey” written by Dr. Jerry Holt, chair of the PNC Department of English and Modern Languages, featuring actor Steven Becker in role of Brooklyn Dodgers baseball general manager Branch Rickey.

Breakfast participants are asked to bring non-perishable food items that will be donated to the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and directed to local food pantries throughout Michigan City and LaPorte. Throughout the months of January and February food donations can be dropped off at Purdue University North Central, Curves at 1708 E. U.S. 20 in Michigan City, Michigan City Public Library and The Temple Total Fitness Gym.

Guests are invited to view select artwork of artist Dr. Margaret Burroughs at the event. The art, on loan from Pines Village Retirement Communities, highlights diversity in our culture while encouraging mutual respect and understanding. Burroughs founded the DuSable Museum of African-American History in her Chicago home. It was the first museum of African-American history in the United States. The artwork will be on display at Purdue North Central outside the Library-Student-Faculty Building, Room 144 through February.

PNC students, faculty, staff and community members are welcome to join one of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Service Projects taking place throughout the area.

From 10 a.m. to noon, students in the PNC Department of Education student organizations will lead educational activities focused on the life of Dr. King at the Michigan City Public Library. All children are welcome to attend, but activities are intended for individuals ages three to 12.

From 5 to 7 p.m. there will be an Interfaith Talent Show coordinated by the NAACP and New Hope Missionary Baptist Church. The Talent Show will take place at Missionary Baptist Church on West 6th Street, Michigan City.

Events will continue on Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. at the Michigan City Public Library, there will be a showing of the film “42” (PG-13) with a discussion to follow, led by Dr. Jerry Holt. The film tells the story of Branch Rickey who signed Jackie Robinson to a major league contract and Robinson’s experience as the nation’s first African-American major league baseball player.

The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration sponsors include: Premier sponsors Horizon Bank, PNC Chancellor’s Diversity Fund, The Herald Argus and The News-Dispatch; Gold sponsors Dr. and Mrs. David Pratt, Michigan City Human Rights Commission, NIPSCO, Sinai Temple and 1st Source Bank; Silver sponsors Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa; LaPorte Savings Bank; Swanson Center; Unity Foundation of La Porte County, and Visit Michigan City La Porte Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Bronze sponsors Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Sigma Phi Omega Chapter and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

To obtain more information about the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration Breakfast, contact Laura Weaver, PNC service learning coordinator at or at 219-785-5742.

Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact Weaver.