Turner, Scarbrough tout LR, PB events

Pine Bluff Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Inc. Executive Director Jesse Turner and Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission Executive Director DuShun Scarbrough touted a pair of upcoming events during a Pine Bluff Rotary Club meeting on Thursday.

Turner promoted a July 22 Pen or Pencil summit at The Marriott Hotel in Little Rock that will be sponsored by the National Alliance of Faith and Justice and the National Association of Blacks and Criminal Justice. Meanwhile, Scarbrough announced that the Commission has partnered with the Pine Bluff Convention Center and will have the 2014 statewide King Holiday event there next year.

Turner said local officials are aiming at taking 350 youth to the Little Rock meet, which is designed to help youngsters make the proper choice of education over prison. King’s youngest daughter, Bernice King, will speak at the seminar. Turner said participation — including meals and travel — will be free.

In his remarks, Turner referenced numerous challenges faced by black youth, ranging from education to health issues and violence. Saying he’s attempting to take the Pen or Pencil program to all Jefferson County school districts, he said the project will be “writing a new history of nonviolence to no violence.” He said the effort will “connect youngsters to their civil rights history.”

Turner believes that statistics on problems faced by black youth “produce a sense of urgency.”

“If we don’t do it, who will?” he asked, referencing the program’s drive to enhance the community.

Scarbrough encouraged audience members to contact him by telephone at (501) 683-1300 or email at dushun.scarbrough@arkansas.gov for additional information on the King Commission and its activities.

Scarbrough said the commission is a state organization empowered to serve all Arkansans. Created in 1993 by Act 1216 of the Arkansas General Assembly to promote the legacy and philosophy of King, the commission works closely with the King Federal Holiday Commission and the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta.

Accompanying Scarbrough was commission Project Coordinator Emily Farris.