News and Tribune


February 6, 2013

Reader letter: Some thoughts on the MLK scholarship program

It is with proud pleasure that I write to you to give a cheerful public shout-out to Mrs. Janice Leavell and the MLK committee members.

This great day brought the second inauguration of our first African-Hawaii American President Barack Obama and the celebration of the Rev. Martin L. King’s birthday, all in the same day — Jan. 21. It will also be a remembered day for me and my family because it is also my birth date. How proud I am to share my day with such great men.

And because of this great day, I wish to answer the question a few African-Americans directed toward the awards given to our Caucasian youth. Its very simple. These children apply themselves for the local MLK scholarship and are pushed to do so by their parents. The African-American students that do apply succeed in showing their intelligence and abilities, such as the two seniors from Jeffersonville High School.

Many of the African-American students know of these applications, but will not pick one up from the office or will wait until the last few days before the deadline and will not have enough time to work on their project to show their talent. I know this is true because I have tried to encourage talented students for years and it’s always the same conversation. I had to learn myself it is not the committee that rejects our students, but the parents and our students that reject the committee.

Since its beginning, Mrs. Leavell has been the chairperson of the committee, and at the same time her husband was the president of the Jeffersonville NAACP. The majority of African-Americans of our city believed the MLK Scholarship Program is an entity of the NAACP. It is not.

I hope after reading this letter, residents will know and understand the committee is an educational cooperation, and the NAACP is supposed to be concerned with civil injustice. Also, after reading this I hope to see more people out next year for the MLK breakfast at Jeffersonville High School, the MLK musical concert and at the MLK birthday salute.

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