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March 3, 2024

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Civil rights pioneer Young to join ‘family reunion’ on MLK Day

Vancouver nonprofit’s annual MLK Jr. Breakfast planned for Jan. 17

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Civil rights pioneer, politician, diplomat and activist Andrew Jackson Young Jr. will visit Vancouver on Jan. 17 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He will speak at the 12th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast held by iUrban Teen, a nationally recognized, Vancouver-based nonprofit focused on bringing career education to underrepresented teens.

At the event, Young will share his firsthand account of the civil rights movement, his thoughts about the ongoing struggle for social justice and lessons he’s learned as a lifelong activist. He will also sign books.

“I’m so excited Andrew Young will be joining us,” said iUrban Teen founder Deena Pierott. “At 89, he’s one of the last ones standing from the MLK era.”

The event will take place from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Jan. 17 at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St. Tickets can be purchased online at https://mlkvancouver2022.eventbrite.com. Ticket proceeds go toward iUrban Teen’s Scholarship Fund.

Since the scholarship fund’s inception in 2016, 20 scholarships totaling $31,000 have gone out to local high school graduates.

Other speakers include Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain and Gov. Jay Inslee, who will be providing a virtual message. There will be performances, entertainment and more.

Young isn’t the first civil rights icon to be honored at the event. The late Congressman John Lewis was the featured speaker in 2014. In 2017, it was the late Rev. C.T. Vivian.

“There is a sense of pride in Vancouver for this event,” Pierott said. “I started this breakfast because I knew we didn’t have anything in Vancouver to celebrate Dr. King and his accomplishments. The beauty is that it is a community event. Every year, it’s like a family reunion — people return again and again, and it just grows every year.”

The event comes at a big moment for iUrban Teen. The organization recently opened its first “learning hub,” a brick-and-mortar operation in downtown Vancouver. iUrban Teen programs are now in Washington, Oregon, California and Texas, but Pierott wanted the organization’s first learning hub to be in Vancouver, where it was founded.

“We’ve never had our own space before,” Pierott said. “We can’t wait to get our programs going there. Chess clubs, coding camps, writing programs — so many programs.”

Pierott said the Jan. 17 event is about continuing King’s legacy.

“We’re going to be talking about the whole civil rights movement,” she said. “It’s going to be amazing.”

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