Quick Takes editorial: MLK speaker’s words challenge us

Ohio-based guest speaker Kendall C. Wright brought a message that challenged as much as inspired the 350 people who attended the 26th Annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Breakfast on Monday at The Commons.

“How can we become a beloved community,” Wright asked, “if we remain clustered in these pockets of sameness?” His message encouraged people to move beyond their normal circles, The Republic’s Brian Blair reported, to better understand those who could be battling injustice or oppression.

Wright, a global business consultant and clergyman, spoke to a diverse and receptive audience at the annual event planned and coordinated by the local African American Pastors Alliance. But his message is one we all should take to heart, because the pursuit of equality and justice benefits everyone.

Educator deserving of MLK honor

When someone receives an award and the presenters acknowledge the only reason she hadn’t already been recognized is because they surely must have honored her before, you know that person is special.

You could say that about retired Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. teacher Paulette Roberts, who on Monday was named the local Beloved Community Award winner at the annual MLK Day Breakfast.

Though she’s retired in the official sense, Roberts has really never stopped teaching or inspiring as a tutor and as a living embodiment of Black history. She continues to educate, even sometimes appearing in character as a prominent historical figure such as abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

“She’s a whole vibe,” fellow teacher and presenter Whitney Gaines said of Roberts. “She deserves all the accolades. She is an example of what it actually looks like to do this (community) work.”

Roberts said she was overwhelmed. “But I can’t get an award just because of me. There has to be a village that works along with me,” she said.

The village owes thanks to Paulette Roberts for a lifetime of service.

Community focus on Black history

Black History Month Columbus is a new and ambitious community-wide effort during the month of February. Numerous social, civic business and other organizations have partnered to refine the celebration of the local Black community that traces its local roots in Columbus to the early 1800s.

As The Republic’s Andy East reported, events include a monthlong local African-American historical exhibit called “And Still We Rise” at The Commons, a series of screenings of free movies every Saturday at YES Cinema, a community worship service at The Commons that will be led by local Black churches, and a jazz concert featuring Indianapolis-based pianist Christopher Pitts.

Check out all of this and more at the website blackhistorycolumbus.com. It’s an excellent resource that puts local Black history — and the events celebrating Black History Month — at your fingertips.