Mitchell-Braxton gets award

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Southeast Missourian

The pews of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church were full Monday night with people of all races and creeds who gathered to see Debra Mitchell-Braxton honored with the 12th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service award.

The Rev. David Allen presented Mitchell-Braxton, director of the Upward Bound program at Southeast Missouri State University, with the award. He said Mitchell-Braxton has dedicated her life to encouraging others to continue the battles King fought for during his life.

"I am honored to receive this award," Mitchell-Braxton said. "Martin Luther King's spirit is still alive today through his speeches and writings. We have to dare to be different, to go out on a limb and not worry about the consequences.

"There is still a lot of work to be done," she said.

Celebrating King's legacy, the crowd of about 100 people listened to keynote speaker Lonetta Riley, the first black woman elected to the board of trustees of the Yuba Sutter School District in Yuba City, Calif.

"If Martin Luther King Jr. were here today, he would see a nation that only comes together during times of crisis, that forgot for that one day the differences we should forget every day," Riley said.

The problems in America, Riley said, are not black or white problems, but human problems that will not go away until children are taught there is no black or white -- only humans.

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