Pictured (left to right) are Melvin Adams and Bryan Lowe III.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee Chairman Bryan Lowe III is excited about Monday’s luncheon in King’s honor, as well as the future of the CCMLK.

The 34th Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Event is taking place at the Manahan Orthopedic Capital Center on the campus of Grace College. Doors to the free event open at 11 a.m. Monday, with the program scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. The keynote speaker is former NCAA American professional basketball player and famed Harlem Globetrotters member Melvin Adams.

“I’m glad to hear it,” Lowe said. “He will be very dynamic. Like his personality and all, I think everyone will really appreciate him and his story of pushing, pushing, and achieving goals. I think it will do an amazing job of honoring Dr. King with how Melvin was able to live his life and apply it all.

He said the Committee would also recognize some of the CCMLK founders at Monday’s event. Joe Banks, Lynn Pulliam and Durell Hoskins founded the CCMLK in 1987 to provide a forum in which King is commemorated in the county.

This is Lowe’s ninth year on the board.

“The CCMLK has been part of Kosciusko County for a long time, so having the opportunity to recognize some of those who had the vision and foresight to start this type of event, to bring everyone together, to recognize Dr. King and to celebrate diversity and inclusion and unity, that’s really good. I’m excited,” he said.

Additionally, this year, Lowe said the committee will introduce something called Bracelet Day.

“We’re going to try and bring Dr. King’s heart and vision, in a way, to everyone’s mind and forefront later in the year, around August. We will have a bracelet day. It was August when Dr King gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech, so on that day we will have bracelets that represent Dr King’s dream,” he said, as well as bracelets that represent the CCMLK and the community.

“I think it’s really good to see how right now the CCMLK is finding ways to spice itself up throughout the year. It’s not just a year, an event,” Lowe said.

Over the years, he said it wasn’t difficult to find speakers for MLK Day.

“I think Dr. King’s message and the message of unity and overcoming diversity and hardship, there’s always someone willing to talk about it. There is always someone ready to carry this heart. So that’s not a problem,” Lowe said. “Getting our community to show up, after the year we’ve had with 2020, 2021 with COVID, I think that’s really what’s in question is: Will Kosciusko County show up? always?”

He said in 2021 they had good online attendance, but it wasn’t in person. Last year it was held at New Life Christian Church and Outreach, but it is back at MOCC at Grace College this year.

“It’s wonderful to be back at Grace, to have the support of Grace and the support of the school with the choir coming out and to see the community coming together again, so I’m really grateful. hope,” Lowe said.

The Committee wants to change things. He said the board is currently trying to find ways to do more throughout the year than just one event.

“I would love to, and I know we’ve talked about it as a board, I’d love to see something in the community that talks about Dr. King and his vision and his dream every day of the year , whether it’s a statue, a monument, something somewhere in the community that would have this stuff front and center,” Lowe said.

Fort Wayne has the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge.

“It’s very well lit, it’s amazing, it’s well decorated, and I just started working with the Fort Wayne board to find out, ‘Hey, how did you do that? What did you do? What were the steps that took place? So that we could do something similar in Kosciusko, Warsaw and Lake Winona,” Lowe said.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, Kosciusko County’s population as of April 1, 2020 was 80,240, down from 77,358 on April 1, 2010. Although still predominantly white alone – 95.2% (87.6% white alone, not Hispanic or Latino) – in 2020, 1.1% are black or African American alone; 0.4% are American Indian and Alaska Native alone; 1.7% are Asian only; and 8.2% are Hispanic or Latino.

The 2020 U.S. Census has the city of Warsaw at 15,804, down from 13,559 in 2010. Its population is 85.5% white (76.8% white only, not Hispanic or Latino) and 2.3% black, 1.7% Native American and Alaska Native, 4.7% Asian, 3.3% from two or more races, and 12.4% Hispanic.

“It’s changing. When Lynn Pulliam asked me to become board chair eight years ago, I thought to myself, ‘Lynn, I’m white. How can I be the president of CCMLK?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Because that’s exactly what Dr. King’s dream was for. Someone of a different color, of a different ethnicity with the same heart in them. I was like, ‘OK, with that, I’m in.’ I appreciated. I really did,” Lowe said.

The CCMLK board of directors is made up of Lowe, president; Alyssa Lowe, secretary; Kathy Madden, Treasurer; Melanie Woodruff, Director of Advocacy; Krista Polston, Grants and Special Projects Coordinator; Cokiesha Bailey-Robinson and Sylvester Thomas.

“I think our council portrays our community, which I don’t see as a bad thing when people ask the question why are they all white. This is our community right now. The majority of our community is Caucasian, and we now sprinkle across the board different ethnicities,” Lowe said. “It’s showing up on the board now, which is great too, because it’s showing up in the community. I enjoyed that and don’t see it as a negative.

The CCMLK also presents a scholarship to students every year in Warsaw. At the annual lunch, scholarship forms are available for students to pick up, complete and return. The scholarship used to be presented at lunch, but the timing was not suitable and applicants were missed, so now it is presented on the same day as the school presents all of its other scholarships.

As for sponsorship, Lowe said they would love to have more.

“Because that’s the ceiling of how we bring together our speakers, what we do lunches. Grace was amazing as a sponsor giving us a great deal on lunch and menu. But if we had more sponsorships, then we would be doing even more than what we are doing now, but we are doing our best with every dollar that passes,” he said.

Those unable to attend in person can watch a live stream of the event, courtesy of Grace College, on the CCMLK Facebook page. Search for “Committee to Commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Warsaw, Indiana, USA” or “@ccmlkwarsaw”.

The committee also has a website at ccmlkwarsaw.com, where there is a link for donations.

“I’m excited to see what happens after this year. I really am,” Lowe said. “If people want to be involved, on the board or anything like that, please contact us. We are always looking to grow and do more.