At 6pm January 17 at the Performing Arts Center at Niagara Falls High School, 4455 Porter Road, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration Committee will celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and honor community members. Themed, “Building Friendships for Today and Tomorrow,” the event is free and open to all.
Receiving recognition that evening will be W. Lee Whitaker (Civil Rights Achievement Award), Joanne Lorenzo & then Magdalene Project (Spirit of Dr. King Award) and Niagara Falls High School Senior LaSharee Wallace (Youth Civil Rights Achievement Award).
The Committee is pleased to welcome keynote speaker Craig Pridgen of True Bethel Baptist Church to the event.
Music will be provided by the Niagara Falls Housing Authority Youth Choir under the direction of Diana M. Reeves and Reign. The event is sponsored annually by the District, the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York (NFJC), WKBW-TV, The Niagara Falls Housing Authority, the Niagara Falls Police Department, the OSC-TV 21, DiCamillo’s Bakery, Family & Children’s Services of Niagara, and Leadership Niagara.
• W. Lee Whitaker attended Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama and is a Certified Public Housing Manager, Certified Occupancy Specialist and a Certified STAR Domestic Violence Instructor. She is a member of the NFC Corporation (the lending arm for the City of Niagara Falls) which provides loans to expand area businesses. She has been a member of the Niagara Falls Chapter, The Links, Inc., for numerous years, where she serves as the Chair of the Youth Committee and has implemented numerous educational and cultural enrichment programs. She also serves as a Commissioner for the Niagara Falls Human Rights Commission, whose goal is to break down barriers and promote equality.
• Joanne Lorenzo and the Magdalene Project. The Magdalene Project is a faith-based outreach ministry serving people whose lives have been abused by drugs, alcohol, domestic abuse, and prostitution.
The Magdalene Project includes street ministry, children’s ministry, prison ministry, back to school and holiday help for those in need and more. Ms. Lorenzo is the founder and president of the Magdalene Project; visit www.themagdaleneproject.net.
• Niagara Falls High School student LaSharee Wallace was selected by the Wolverine Club from nominations received by the school community. She has volunteered at Community Missions and Schoelkopf Nursing Home, teaches Spanish to young students through the HOLA program, and organized a community event at the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Center in connection with the death of Zenobia Williams.
• Craig Pridgen Pastor Pridgen began his Christian walk joining the family church, St. Mark AME Zion Church, of which his Great-Grand Mother, the late Bernice Dorothy Wright was a member of. In 2003 Pastor Pridgen was drafted to assist in making history as True Bethel opened the first ever Subway franchise located in a church. He completed the opening of the Sub- way restaurant and ran it for over 2 years. He then transitioned to full time ministry serving as executive assistance to the Pastor and ministerial coordinator.