PBSC celebrates MLK’s legacy, honors local individuals
Palm Beach State College paused Jan. 13 to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to honor five individuals and an organization whose community work exemplifies the spirit of the noted civil rights leader.
The 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration was held at the Duncan Theatre on the Lake Worth campus and livestreamed for the public. The theme was “Resilience and Empowerment: Moving Forward Together,’’ and the event included performances by the Palm Beach State College Concert Chorus and the Boynton Beach Community High School Choir.
BJ “Buddie” Penn, a former assistant secretary and former acting secretary of the U.S. Navy, was the keynote speaker. He took the live and virtual audience on a chronological journey of King’s life from his upbringing in Atlanta and higher education journey to his civil rights work and his assignation. Penn, whose service to the Navy spans more than four decades, recalled that he was flying a combat mission in Vietnam when he received the news a day late that King had been killed. “It was a very sad day. We realized what he had done for the country. He had moved us forward,” said Penn, who also discussed his career and some challenges he faced as an African American in the Navy.
Dr. LaTanya McNeal, executive dean of the PBSC Belle Glade campus, served as mistress of ceremonies, and other speakers were Wendy Link, J.D., chair of the District Board of Trustees and James Duffie, vice president of finance and administration.
President Ava L. Parker, J.D., presented the College’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Awards in six categories, including a new Lifetime Achievement category that will be awarded in some years. It was presented to Don Browne, former president of Telemundo Communications Group, Inc. and former president and general manager of WTVJ NBC6, NBCUniversal’s owned-and-operated station in Miami, who maintains a national reputation for his recruitment and development of women and minorities. His award was accepted by Trina Robinson and Willard Shepard, NBC6 journalists, who said that Browne, who attended virtually, helped open doors for them and many other minorities in the TV news industry.
Also honored were:
Julie Kime (Alumni), a PBSC graduate and former businesswoman, whose community spirit and experiences have been inspiring the Palm Beach County community for over 30 years. She established the Julie Kime Hispanic Women Scholarship at PBSC, was nominated to the prestigious Jeremiah Milbank Society, an elite group dedicated to serving the local Boys and Girls Clubs, and she is a founder of the Palms West Chamber of Commerce (now Central Chamber).
Dawn Rosado (Student), a PBSC Associate in Arts degree student, who has been serving for five years with the United Way of Palm Beach County’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.
Jang-Young Bang, Ph.D. (Faculty/Staff), a PBSC physics professor, who has turned his passion for his field into opportunities to do outreach on campus and in the community to provide support for students interested in STEM.
Patricia Brown (Individual), a community servant who worked at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in various capacities for over 31 years before retiring last year as a lieutenant and executive officer of the West Detention Center. She has been a mentor for Take Stock in Children since 2012 and works with other organizations that focus on youth support.
Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County (Organization), a nonprofit group that since 1989 has been helping local individuals receive the help they need to improve their literacy skills.