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Author speaks at MLK event

Springfield native challenges audience to make a better community.

Springfield native and best-selling author Lewis Banks believes Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream can be accomplished if residents give back to their community.

Banks was the keynote speaker at the 24th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration luncheon at the Clark State Community College Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center on Friday.

“We still need the American Dream,” Banks said.

Banks, a North High School and Central State University graduate, is a contracts manager who has worked in international and domestic business leadership roles. He was also nominated for three of the NAACP’s prestigious Image Awards in literature, as well as the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award. In 2009, Banks founded Camp Nebo, a non-profit youth advocate organization dedicated to providing services for at-risk youth in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Banks said King’s dream was “a reminder of the blueprint forged by the creator and memorialized by the founding fathers in our most sacred piece of American doctrine.”

King didn’t plan for the Civil Rights movement to happen, but he didn’t walk away, either, Banks said. He compared King’s dream to the National Basketball Association draft, where teams have time to pick players each year.

“Humanity is on the clock with Dr. King’s dream, to pick and to choose what kind of team America is building,” Banks said.

He said citizens must all enter “humanity’s draft” to make a championship community.

Springfield residents such as Eli Williams, the founder of Fatherhood Clark County and Urban Light Ministries, are “working on the dream for the community and are looking for some more Springfield residents to get in the boat with them.”

Residents must be active in the community to help King’s dream become a reality.

“The dream is alive if we’re looking for solutions,” Banks said. “The dream is alive because you have big dreams to give the world.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker awards were given to local students, including Catholic Central’s La’Tasia Colvin, Emmanuel Christian’s Gabrielle Bauman, Greenon’s Stephanie Schlabach, Kenton Ridge’s Brock Engi, Northeastern’s Taylor Hall, Northwestern’s Harmonie Coleman, Shawnee’s Taylor Hamilton, Southeastern’s Isabella Marie Fairchild, Springfield’s Aliyah Joyner, Tecumseh’s Courtney Speakman and Morgan Congleton of the Springfield-Clark CTC.

The students were recognized for their ability to resolve conflict in a positive way and assist in bridging cultural and social difference at their high schools.

The Eagle and Dove Academy was also recognized as the outstanding creative youth programming recipient. The academy is in its 17th year of providing after-school reading classes and homework assistance to kindergarten through third grade students at the Springfield City School district.

The luncheon was presented by the city’s Human Relations Board and Clark State.