She dreams of the idea that her success and her Christian faith could influence or inspire others, especially young adults.
So 24-year-old Indiana University law school doctoral graduate Briah Golder will focus on encouraging other young people at the 42nd Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Celebration Service Jan. 20 at Columbus’ Calvary Community Church. The theme is “Never Forget the Journey: Preparing Generation Next.”
“That’s what really keeps me going,” said Golder of that encouragement role. She was speaking by phone from Indianapolis, where she serves as music director at Temple of Praise Assembly. Plus, she works as an academic success coach at Xavier University in Cincinnati.
So, no wonder she bristles over one element about her peers while balancing something of a multi-faceted life.
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“I hate the persona that so many people place upon millennials,” Golder said, adding that many people talk of young adults as a generation of ignorance.
Bishop Charles A. Sims, Calvary Community’s co-founder and senior pastor, launched the local scholarship service as a way to honor King’s spiritual and educational legacy — and to motivate young people to pursue education and the best possible life. King himself was so academically focused that he became a Morehouse College student in Atlanta, Georgia, at age 15.
“We didn’t want an event where we simply would pat everyone on the back and say, ‘That’s great,’” Sims has said in the past. “Dr. King certainly was an educational enthusiast. He felt one strong way to raise oneself up was education. So we wanted something tangible to help young people. ”
The scholarships, usually in amounts of $200 to $500, come from a collection at the service and other church donations and funds.
Dozens of local students have received similar help via the annual service through the years, according to organizers. Sims and his wife, the Rev. Jane Sims, live what they preach. Each has earned doctorates in theology from Indianapolis’ Christian Theological Seminary.
Charles Sims, who has volunteered weekly for years with teens at Atterbury Jobs Corps in Edinburgh, believes in guiding and mentoring the younger generation. But he’s uncertain that young adults in general today have given the next generation the proper tools to assess or to appreciate history regarding civil rights leader King, who was assassinated April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
“I’m unsure they properly understand the journey and where we’re at today,” Charles Sims said. “And I’m not sure how effective we’ve been in teaching this in our school systems when it comes to teaching them about the past. And I’m uncertain how much they understand the importance of a strong education — and having a strong spiritual foundation.”
Sims himself, who grew up in Realsville, Indiana, said there was no teaching about what would have been civil rights current events in his day — or any emphasis on black history other than mentions of slavery.
In the 1980s and 1990s, when the clergyman would show up to speak to local elementary students about elements of black history, many thought he was King because they knew so little of the civil rights movement and its leader.
“We have to turn back to Generational Next and be very intentional in our teaching and mentoring,” Charles Sims said. “And we have to help them understand the things it takes to really make it in today’s society.”
Golder mentioned that one thing King’s life taught her is the importance of love. And she mentioned that she is quite aware of racial and other division that is prevalent today. Yet, she believes that cannot be the healthy focus of her generation — or any other, for that matter.
“If you pay too much attention to everything going on in the world, you could be thoroughly confused,” Golder said.
She cited the importance of passionate unity amid a cause.
“With love and peace, we can go far (in anything),” Golder said. “We (Christians) are supposed to have a heart for God. And the whole essence of Christianity is love. So I definitely will talk about how we need to spread more love.”
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”About the service” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
What: 42nd Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Scholarship Celebration Service
When: 4 p.m. Jan. 20
Where: Calvary Community Church, 1031 Chestnut St. in downtown Columbus.
Why: To honor the spiritual and educational legacy of King, and to honor local students with college scholarships.