MLK Center to celebrate its creation today

By Carolyn Smith

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A celebration will be held today in honor of the 4th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Center bringing between 200 and 300 people from the Tucson community to honor "the dream," and the creation of the center.

Professor Theodore Tong, the director for the Arizona Poison Center and an associate dean in the college of pharmacy was the founder of the center, which opened on Oct. 1, 1991. Today he will start the event with a quotation about social justice and change.

"Every year since the opening of the center we hold a 'birthday celebration' to recognize the center and what it stands for," said the center's program coordinator, Robin Lemon-Soape.

The celebration will start at 10 a.m. with a brief quotation, followed by a brief statement from roughly 30 to 40 people about social justice. Community leaders including members from the Arizona Board of Regents, a Tucson judge, and many campus leaders will speak, she said.

"The celebration is about bringing people together who are about social change, diversity and preparing for the 21st century. It lets students know that its not just an African-American concern, it comes in every different color and style," Lemon-Soape said.

"I think its really important that we celebrate the establishment of the center. It provides a common meeting place for minority students, but as an education point its a place where students can come and discuss various issues. . The center plays an important role on this campus," said Teresa Graham-Brett, the associate director for minority student services.

Approximately 60 to 70 distinguished leadership awards will be presented to various members of the community for making changes in their field that are related to cultural sensitivity and positive change.

An open reception will follow the award ceremony, and will last until about 12 p.m. Any interested student is encouraged to attend, she said.

The center sponsors various events and activities dealing with participation and social change.

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