BCC Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. with free community breakfast, distinguished guests on January 20
Bristol Community College’s annual breakfast to honor the life and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will feature author and Bard College professor delivering the keynote. Jennifer DeBarros, a BCC graduate, will be named the 2014 Distinguished African American Alumnus of the Year.
Dr. Myra Young Armstead will give the keynote address at Bristol Community College’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Breakfast. Dr. Young Armstead began her college education at Cornell University before moving on to University of Chicago to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. She has been a professor of history at Bard College since 1985 where she specializes in U.S social and cultural history, with emphasis on urban and African American history.
Myra Young Armstead grew up in the “Borscht Belt,” a summer resort region of New York State. Her family’s history of owning a barbershop and rooming house in a tourism region inspired her to later explore the dynamics of African American communities in tourist towns. Her book Lord, don’t take me in August: African Americans in Newport and Saratoga Springs investigates the ways in which life for African Americans was similar and disimiliar from experiences in the more common settings of rural South or big-city North.
Jennifer DeBarros, the 2014 Distinguished African American Alumnus of the year, began her future at BCC in 1993 after completing her High School Equivalency Test ahead of her high school class. With her young son’s future as inspiration, Jennifer excelled at BCC studying Secretarial Science before being placed into a Co-op position at a local non-profit.
It was this experience that pushed Jennifer to continue moving toward her goals of bettering both her family and her community. She discovered her passion for working with local youth on issues of teen empowerment, teen pregnancy, and HIV prevention.
After completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, FL, Jennifer quickly elevated to both leadership and management roles with New England Child and Family Services, before moving onto the Executive Director position of 3rd Eye Youth Empowerment Inc. in New Bedford, MA.
As Executive Director, Jennifer uses her experiences to increase levels of confidence, self-esteem, and hope in youth by providing positive opportunities, mentoring, and creative outlets. Jennifer credits BCC with providing her with both support and direction to accomplish her goals.
While the breakfast and festivities remain free, the College’s Civic Engagement office is asking attendees to bring donations of new socks and underwear, birthday gifts, toothbrushes, toothpaste, other toiletries, baby safety items, arts and crafts supplies, school supplies, and gift cards for teens. Gifts will be delivered to New Bedford for the MLK activities sponsored by Southcoast Serves.
The breakfast will be held on Monday, January 20, 2014, in the Commonwealth College Center on the Fall River Campus, and it is free and open to the community. The event begins at 8:30 a.m., with music, awards, and celebration, followed by an ecumenical service at the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Fall River.
For more information contact Kevin Spirlet, at 508.678.2811 ext. 3361.