Celebration to focus on civil rights


Piqua Mayor Kris Lee to speak

For the Miami Valley Sunday News



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PIQUA — The Diversity Committee at Edison State Community College is hosting a celebration of Black History Month with a special event that focuses on civil rights. The event will be held from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 in the Robinson Theater of the Piqua campus and is free and open to the community.

The evening will include a keynote address by the newly appointed Piqua Mayor Kris Lee, readings of student essays and historical pieces, a dance performance from Columbus-based G.O.R.E.E. Drum and Dance, and refreshments.

“Civil rights continue to remain a hot topic in American culture,” said Marva Archibald, Diversity Committee Chairperson. “We wanted to find a way for people to come together and explore these topics through various forms of expression.”

Lee, who will provide a keynote address on civility, brings with him a historic background as a descendent of the Randolph freed people, a group of 383 emancipated people and survivors of slavery on a plantation in Roanoke, Va., in the 1800s. Once released, the Randolph group resettled north of Piqua at Rossville, a location also called the Randolph Slave Settlement.

Prior to becoming mayor, Lee worked in law enforcement for over 20 years while also serving as the city of Piqua’s 3rd Ward commissioner. Lee is also an alumnus, adjunct instructor and Peace Academy trainer of Edison State.

Leading up to the event, Edison State students submitted written work for a juried essay competition on the provided topic: “Let’s Get Civil.” During the event, the first, second, and third place recipients will receive prizes and read excerpts from their essays.

The dance portion of the evening will feature G.O.R.E.E. Drum and Dance (Giving Others Resources, Education, and Empowerment through Drum and Dance). While focusing primarily on West African dance styles, the group weaves together the rich diversity of Directors Balla and Ndeyekhady’s far-ranging experiences. GOREE Dance and Drum is committed to honoring the tradition of their teachers, culture, and history of traditional West African Dance while bringing their unique flair to life.

“We have a fun evening planned which features the Piqua mayor who holds a rich African-American history, along with original essays, a special dance performance from G.O.R.E.E., and good food,” Archibald said. “There will be something for everybody.”

The Diversity Committee at Edison State Community College is committed to advancing the College’s academic mission and goals in the areas of diversity, equality, inclusion, and human rights by leading efforts to define, assess, and cultivate diversity as both an institutional value and an academic priority.

The Black History Month events are sponsored, in part, by Edison State Community College, Unity National Bank, and U.S. Bank. For more information, contact Marva Archibald, Diversity Committee Chairperson, by calling (937) 778-7908 or emailing marchibald@edisonohio.edu.

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Piqua Mayor Kris Lee to speak

For the Miami Valley Sunday News