Davenport, GRCC, GVSU to host Cheryl Brown Henderson, in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Commemoration

Cheryl Brown Henderson will serve as the keynote speaker for the 36th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration, a partnership between Davenport and Grand Valley State universities and Grand Rapids Community College.

Each year, Davenport joins Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Commemoration Day. The 2022 event is planned for 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain Street NE. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5 p.m. Attendees should register at davenport.edu/DEI/MLK.

“Our annual celebration amplifies Dr. King’s historical reflections and philosophies of attaining a fair and just society,” said Latoya Booker, Davenport’s executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion. “Cheryl’s presentation – Brown v. The Board of Education: The Legacy Continues will inspire attendees to take on persistent barriers to advancing educational equity. We are proud to bring Cheryl to Grand Rapids to share her message with our greater community.”

Cheryl is the Founding President of The Brown Foundation for Educational Equity, Excellence and Research, and owner of Brown & Associates, an educational consulting firm. She has an extensive background in education, business and civic leadership, having served on and chaired various local, state and national Boards. In addition, she has two decades of experience in political advocacy, public policy implementation and federal legislative development.

Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, minor in mathematics from Baker University, Baldwin City, Kansas, a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Washburn University and an honorary doctorate of education from the University of South Florida. She is the recipient of various awards and recognition for work in education and community service; presentations at numerous conferences, conventions and universities; and for her work with Congress and the National Park Service to preserve sites associated with the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling of 1954.

In 1988 she founded the Brown Foundation. Since its establishment, the Foundation has provided scholarships to more than 100 students of color, presented awards to local, state and national leaders, established libraries for children in low-income communities, developed curriculum on Brown for educators across the country, and sponsored programs on diversity and educational issues for thousands of people. In 1990, under her leadership the Foundation successfully worked with the U.S. Congress to establish the Brown v. Board of Education National Park in Topeka, which opened in May of 2004. In 2001, under her leadership the Foundation successfully worked with the U.S. Congress to establish the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Presidential Commission, which served to provide a Federal presence in the 2004 anniversary of the Brown decision.

She has been invited to the White House on seven occasions – In January 1994, May 1995, May 2003, June 2004, February 2005, June 2005, and May 2014, she was one of a group of individuals invited to receptions and dinner at the White House, (listed chronologically) in honor of Dr. King and the Children of Civil Rights Movement, the 75th Anniversary, U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau, 49th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act., African American History Month, African American Gospel Music Month and the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.

To request accommodations to attend this event, please contact the Davenport Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at diversityis@davenport.edu. This event will be held in accordance with local, state and/or federal COVID-19 guidelines.

For more information or to RSVP for the event visit davenport.edu/DEI/MLK.


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