1-23 mlk day 1

Zakyhla Lane carries her sign while marching next to Mooresville Mayor Pro Tem - Thurman Houston as they joined others who braved frigid temperatures to march in Mooresville's MLK Unity March in 2019. 

The following activities are scheduled in Statesville to commemorate the 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration. The 2020 theme is Beyond the Walls of Division.

Friday, Jan. 17

Martin Luther King, Jr. Program

When: 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Where: Shearer Hall, Mitchell Community College, 500 W. Broad St., Statesville

Details: The guest speaker at this event is LaToya Caesar, who expresses her life’s work as an agent of change with a focus on systems leadership that advances equity and opportunity for all children. As district liaison for community engagement for Iredell-Statesville Schools, she develops and implements initiatives designed to engage government leaders, businesses, community members and families in the transformative work of supporting schools with high concentrations of poverty within Iredell County. Caesar has served as a principal, principal of instruction, assessor of aspiring principals, assistant principal, instructional coach, and special education teacher. Her work as an educator and leader has always been in Title I schools or in under-served communities. She has served in the New York City Department of Education and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools district. As a principal, she led the transformation cycle of a charter school’s culture by reducing the student attrition rate from 46% to 15% within two school years, increasing teacher retention by 20%, and maintaining the school’s academic record of outperforming the local school district in Reading and Math in Grades 6-8. Caesar is formally trained in leadership development and instructional leadership by New Leaders for New Schools and the KIPP Foundation, organizations at the forefront of education reform. She is the 2015 New Leaders Roberts Award recipient, which recognizes outstanding school leaders who develop innovative solutions to address critical challenges within their schools. In 2016, she spoke before the U.S. Senate HELP Committee on ESSA legislation. She has led several task forces to change policies and practices related to equity, education reform, and school transformation. She is an alumni of Leadership Charlotte, and a current cohort member for Leadership Statesville, serves on the Education and Public Policy Committees for the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce, and serves on several community organization boards in Statesville. Caesar currently holds a bachelor of business administration, master in education, and master in educational leadership from the City University of New York (Baruch College and Brooklyn College). Her greatest accomplishment to date, however, is that of motherhood to her 10-year old daughter, Abby.

Saturday, Jan. 18

Youth Talent Expo

When: 11 a.m.

Where: Statesville High School Mac Gray Auditorium, 474 N. Center St.,, Statesville

Details: The Martin Luther King Celebration Committee is hosting a Youth Talent Expo. It will involve creative writing, art, spoken word, poetry, stepping, dancing, singing and cross-culture activities. Everyone is invited to join; youth are encouraged to participate and display their different abilities. It is an open mic event and there is no charge for admission. For more information contact mlkcommittee@gmail.com or call Myrah Lykes at (434) 579-4569, Katelyn Corcoran at (704) 880-0869 or William Jones at (704) 876-6784.

Sunday, Jan. 19

Worship Service

When: 4 p.m.

Where: Trinity Episcopal Church, 801 Henkel Road, Statesville

Details: Speaker Overseer Myrah Lykes was born on Aug. 12, 1977, to Apostle Carl D. Lykes and Dr. Virginia W. Lykes. At the age of 2, Lykes began singing her hallmark song, “I don’t believe that he brought me this far to leave me.” Her first message was preached at the age of 12 at Jeter’s Chapel Baptist Church entitled, “A Name you can Trust.” In 1994, she graduated from Halifax Co. High School at the age of 16 and was diagnosed with lupus. In 1996, she married Jamie Lamar Irby and to this union Jamie II, Alexis, and Anthony were born. Alexis proceeded her family in death. In 1999, Myrah graduated from Longwood College. In June 2007, she received her masters in business administration and began pursuing her doctorate in Divinity. In 2011, she became Overseer of the youth of the Apostolic Faith Churches of Deliverance. She retired from Halifax Public Schools in 2011 and now serves as academic advisor of the Academy of Excellence where she serves students in many capacities. She is a spokesperson for The Lupus Foundation of America North Carolina Chapter and is CEO of Steps To Destiny, a nonprofit that empowers individuals who battle autoimmune diseases.

The Rev. Brad Mullis has been the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church since 2003. Prior to that, he served at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Raleigh. He grew up in Winston-Salem and got his bachelor degree from Davidson College. He holds a master degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master of divinity from Duke University. He also studied at the Virginia Theological Seminary. Mullis has spoken at the service twice. His wife, Ellyn works at the Children’s Hope Alliance. Their two children, Sally and Charles, are in college.

Monday, Jan. 20

Community Prayer Breakfast

When: Doors open 6 a.m. and the program is from 7-9 a.m.

Where: Statesville Civic Center, 300 S. Center St., Statesville

Details: The guest speaker at the event will be Shanta Lightfoot. Lightfoot is an educator with 12 years of experience as a middle school teacher, central office instructional coach and administrator for Wake County Public Schools, Raleigh. She holds a bachelor degree in middle grades education and a master degree in curriculum and developmental supervision from North Carolina State University where she was a North Carolina Teaching Fellow; a principal certification from University of North Carolina at Wilmington; and a Gifted and Talented certification from East Carolina University. She is currently working on her Ph.D. at North Carolina A&T State University in Leadership Studies. Living by her mantra, “Literacy is a civil and human right,” she ventured to EL Education, a national educational nonprofit. After one year as the senior professional development specialist supporting Detroit Public Community School District in implementation of curricular materials, student gains on the end of grade assessment outpaced the state of Michigan. Lightfoot currently serves as director of curriculum partnerships at EL Education, supporting Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Her passion for equity often positions her to be an interpreter. She interprets belief systems, thought processes and structures that alienate and disenfranchise the children. She firmly believes that “…whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me” (Matthew 25:40). She was born in Elizabeth City and currently resides in Raleigh. She is the daughter of June Lightfoot and the late, Glen Lightfoot. She has two brothers, Torey and Ronchelle; one niece, Drew; and two goddaughters — Jordan and Joselyn. She serves at Ellis Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Winfall.

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