Speaker urges people to examine their own dreams

January 16, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - As people look back today on the life of Martin Luther King Jr., they also need to examine "what's the dream in us," Jamie Washington, a nationally known speaker on diversity, said Sunday in Martinsburg.

Washington was scheduled to speak during a banquet at the Holiday Inn honoring the 28th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship.

The $35-a-plate dinner is a fundraiser for the scholarship program, which has been awarding scholarships to local students since 1979, said program spokeswoman C. Carolyn Togans.


It is customary for a guest speaker to talk about King's life and related race issues at the banquet.

Washington is president and founder of Washington Consulting Group, a Baltimore firm that specializes in leadership development with a focus on diversity. The organization's programs are used by businesses, colleges and government agencies, Washington said.

Washington also is a founding faculty member of the Social Justice Training Institute, an educational program for people doing social justice education.

As Washington remembered the life of King, he encouraged people to reflect on what principles they follow when they are on their jobs, at church and how they interact with their children.

"How are we showing up?" said Washington.

Washington asked whether people are "engaging the dynamic of difference" or only talking about such principles every Jan. 16.

Washington said one of the issues facing the country today is growing numbers of minorities who are facing the challenge of being "lumped into one group" without people understanding the difference between them.

Washington also expressed concern about gays and lesbians being able to live in a safe environment, and messages delivered through television and other media that can be "unfiltered."

Some of Washington's honors include a mayoral citation as one of Baltimore's Men of the Year and the 2001 American College Personnel Association Diamond Honoree.

About 300 people attended Sunday's banquet.

Money raised through the banquet and donations is used to fund scholarships for high school students. The scholarships usually are for $500, although some in the amount of $1,000 are given.

The scholarships can be awarded to any student, although the committee likes half of the money to go to minority students, scholarship officials said.

Scholarship officials will begin reviewing applications for this year's round of scholarship funding in April, Togans said.

Rosabell Roman, president of the scholarship committee, was expected to receive a Distinguished Mountaineer award from Gov. Joe Manchin at Sunday's banquet for being a driving force behind the scholarship program over the years.

The award is given by the governor to people who do outstanding work in their communities such as volunteerism, said Mary Jo Brown, regional representative for Manchin, who presented the award.

The Herald-Mail Articles