The Fierce Urgency of Now
Keynote Address by Dr. Patrice Buckner Jackson
Sustaining a Commitment to Justice
Beyond the Chaos with Rev. Gwendolyn Webb
Anger Into Action with Michael Miyawaki
Each year the Wooster campus community takes time to engage in meaningful exploration and dialogue about issues that connect with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work and vision on matters relating to civil rights and social justice, activism, responsibility, and engagement.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a speech at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967
This year, the MLK Committee landed on the theme, “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” because of the state of our world. We are a generation that has lived through events that people always say are once in a lifetime. But unfortunately, that phrase comes up more frequently than ever. From civil unrest to poverty. From lack of education to a pandemic. The time is now for action. Dr. King wasn’t the only person in the movement. We needed a Martin and a Malcolm. We needed a Shirley Chisholm and an Angela Davis. We needed a Medgar Evers and a Rosa Parks. Each of these people understood the urgency for action in our nation. With that being said, the committee believed that in order to reignite the fire in our community, we needed to have a weeklong event honoring Dr. King and ourselves as members of this world who need to remain in the urgency of now.
Schedule of Events
|Monday, January 16||12:00 pm||Video Kickoff||wooster.edu/mlk|
|7:00 pm Service*||NAACP MLK Day Celebration||Keynote: Rev. Gwendolyn Webb||First Presbyterian Church, 621 College Ave., Wooster|
|Tuesday, January 17||11:00 am - 12:00 pm||Justice Dialogue**||Rev. Gwendolyn Webb||Beyond the Chaos (YouTube Link)||Gault Recital Hall|
|Wednesday, January 18||11:00 am - 12:00 pm||Justice Dialogue**||Dr. Michael Miyawaki, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology||Anger into Action (YouTube Link)||Gault Recital Hall|
|Thursday, January 19||11:00 am - 12:00 pm||Justice Dialogue**||2022 National Teacher of the Year Kurt Russell '94 (panel moderated by Dr. Ryan Ozar, Visiting Professor of Education)||Sustaining a Commitment to Justice (Live Stream)||Gault Recital Hall|
|Friday, January 20||8:00 am - 9:30 am||Prayer Breakfast||Westminster Church, 353 E Pine St., Wooster|
|11:00 am - 12:30 pm||Keynote Address||Dr. Patrice Buckner Jackson||The Fierce Urgency of Now (Live Stream)||McGaw Chapel|
|3:00 pm - 5:00 pm||Civic Engagement Fair||The Alley, Lowry Center|
*MLK essay contest award winners presented at 7:00 pm service
Patrice Buckner Jackson
Dr. Patrice Buckner Jackson, known in her community as Dr. PBJ, disrupts burnout by refreshing the hearts and equipping the hands of overworked, undervalued “heart-workers,” achievers who serve from a heart of purpose.
Dr. PBJ is an educator of almost 25 years and an Executive Coach for more than 10 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Education Administration, served in executive leadership at colleges and universities, and facilitates leadership training as a faculty member for the Center for Creative Leadership. Jackson worked in higher education at many levels, from student assistant to President’s Cabinet and is the recipient of several professional awards and accolades.
Jackson founded EduCare Training and Consulting, LLC out of a purpose pouring into those who pour out so much. Much of her work is specifically focused on equipping and refreshing educators. Compassionate work can carry a high price tag: your mind, body, spirit and relationships may be in distress as you serve the needs of others. Jackson leads her community to serve well without paying an ultimate price.
Currently, Dr. PBJ serves as creator and host of the Disrupting Burnout podcast, and is the founder and facilitator of the EduCare Women’s Leadership Academy.
Dr. Michael H. Miyawaki, Assistant Professor of Sociology, holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, and a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the Fordham University. He teaches courses in research methods, race and ethnicity, and social inequality. His research interest is in race and ethnicity, particularly in the areas of identity formation, classification systems, and inequality, and as they pertain to Latinos and the multiracial population.
Dr. Ryan Ozar is a visiting assistant professor of education at The College of Wooster where he teaches courses on adolescent to young adult teaching methods, content area reading, classroom management as social justice, and global education. His research interests center on the philosophy of education, experiential learning, and justice-informed pedagogies. When not in the classroom, you may find him walking his dog, attending improv shows on campus, or eating ice cream with his family.
Kurt Russell '94
A 25-year veteran of the classroom, Kurt Russell ’94 was first inspired to become a teacher in middle school, when he encountered his first Black male teacher. Now as 2022 National Teacher of the Year, he plans to advocate for classrooms to better reflect the students within them — from a curriculum that reflects their backgrounds and identities to a more diverse teaching profession.
Kurt teaches history at Oberlin High School in Oberlin, Ohio, where he was born and raised; his classes include African American history, which he has taught since the late 1990s, and Race, Gender and Oppression, a class he developed. He also serves as faculty advisor for the student-led Black Student Union, whose work has led to positive impacts for students across racial groups.
In addition to his classroom and extracurricular duties, Kurt is the head coach for the school’s varsity basketball team. He sees basketball as an extension of the classroom, and a place where young people can learn about working together and how to handle both adversity and success.
Kurt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in history and a minor in Black studies from the College of Wooster and a Master of Education in curriculum and instruction from Ashland University. He continues to take courses in child development at Oakland City University.
He was previously recognized as teacher of the year by the Oberlin Heritage Center and the Oberlin chapter of the NAACP, and as Lorain County Basketball Association Coach of the Year and the Northeast Ohio Coach of the Year.
Kurt lives with his wife, Donna, in Oberlin. They are the parents of two adult sons, Kurt Junior (KJ) and Korey. Kurt enjoys reading non-fiction and traveling.Russell Named National Teacher of the Year
Rev. Gwendolyn Webb
Rev. Gwendolyn Cook Webb, Pastor at God’s People United For A Better World Church, is a native of Birmingham, Ala. Webb is a mother of one lovely daughter, grandmother of three, great grandmother of triplets, three beautiful identical girls, one great grandson and counselor to all young people through her ministry. Webb states that she thought the joy of childbirth was great, but nothing in her life has compared to the greatness of her life with Jesus Christ. Even at a young age, she was always fighting for, defending, protecting and serving the downtrodden. Being an original Foot Soldier for Civil Rights, a student leader who went to jail and led others in 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama, she is also now, a Foot Soldier for Christ. She has been ministering all her life, and was licensed and ordained into God’s Ministry in 1999. She is the current Pastor of the God’s People United for a Better World Church.
Rev. Webb attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Jefferson State Community College. She graduated from the Birmingham Police Academy as the second black female officer and served many years obtaining the rank of Detective. During her tenure on the police force, Webb met and married the late Rev. (Lt.) Billy D. Webb; their union lasted 23 years until his demise in 1998. Civic affiliations include being an original Foot Soldier for Civil Rights that earned her the prestigious “I Have A Dream” Award, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Award, Civil Rights Legends 2011 Black Achievers Regions Financial Corporation, and other numerous awards and positions. Webb has not stopped fighting for Civil Rights. She is the Founder and CEO of Foot Soldiers International Inc., Founder and CEO of Sisters Informing Sisters Inc. In addition, she earned the status of an Outstanding Young Woman of America and served on the Jefferson County Judicial Commission for six years, The Mayor’s Drug Task Force, and The Governor’s Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. Webb is featured in an outstanding documentary that won an Academy Award, “Mighty Times the Children’s March.” Webb was selected as the outstanding Foot Soldier from Birmingham, Alabama, along with four other delegates, from other parts of Alabama as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s special guest for Black History Month 2015. Webb is still traveling all over the country, “Teaching Non-Violence.”