Diane Young, Ainesh Shintre, Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor named Spirit of MLK Spotlight recipients during MLK kickoff event
The MLK Celebration Week, "I Have a Dream 2022: The Fierce Urgency of Now," a free, virtual, community-wide effort honoring the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., opened festivities Monday, Jan. 17, with an inspiring kickoff celebration.
The event – attended virtually by more than 149 households – featured the announcement of the Spirit of MLK Spotlight recipients and a keynote panel discussion on allyship led by Dr. Lynn Todman, Vice President, Health Equity at Spectrum Health, along with colleagues Nicki Britten, Director of Population Health, and Corey Smith, Lead Evaluator for Health Equity.
Diane Young, Manager of Business Resource Network at Michigan Works, Ainesh Shintre, an alumnus of All God's Children Community Choir, and the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor were named this year's Spirit of MLK Spotlight recipients. The Spirit of MLK Spotlights is designed to shine a light on an individual, organization, and student who embodies Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s spirit of brotherhood/sisterhood and love through their direct action throughout the community.
Diane Young – Individual Spotlight
Diane Young, a lifelong resident of Benton Harbor, serves as Manager of Business Resource Network at Michigan Works, where she has been employed for more than 27 years.
In her current role, she works with manufacturing, construction, and healthcare industries to increase employee job retention rates and to build stronger working relationships, stronger families, and ultimately a stronger community. Diane said her time at Michigan Works allows her to do what she loves best – serving others.
"It's an awesome feeling to receive this for doing the work that I just love doing," she said. "It's an experience; it's a learning experience for me when I can give back and serve others and elevate people in their lives. It's indescribable. It warms my heart when I can help someone else."
Diane volunteers annually with United Way of Southwest Michigan; Women's Service League; Department of Health & Human Services Operation Good Cheer; Berrien Community Foundation; Benton Harbor High School Concessions; Whirlpool Maytag Ironman 70.3 Steelhead; Senior Citizen Center; Emergency Shelter Services; and the Salvation Army Men's Shelter.
She has been a board member of BHCDC and Caring Circle of Spectrum Health Lakeland. She is president of the community group Sisters From Another Mother, a member of the Benton Harbor chapter of Charms, Inc., and a 2021 nominee for the United Way of Southwest Michigan Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award.
Ainesh Shintre – Student Spotlight
Ainesh Shintre, a longtime member of the All God's Children Community Choir, is a senior at the University of Michigan and a budding filmmaker.
During his time with All God's Children, Ainesh demonstrated a commitment to racial collaboration and racial justice and has continued to pursue these values as a student at the University of Michigan.
In 2021, Ainesh completed the documentary film "Heart to Heart," which centers on the work of All God's Children Community Choir to build bridges across racial divides.
"I'm surprised but deeply grateful that I was selected for this honor," Aienesh said. "I joined All God's Children Choir when I was in sixth grade. … In 2020, I took a course in documentary filmmaking, and the final project was to make a documentary. At the top of my list was my time at All God's Children Choir. I thought that would be a great topic to explore and share the important work that I wanted to bring to light."
"Heart to Heart" is currently available on YouTube.
Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor – Organization Spotlight
The Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor has served youth in Southwest Michigan since 1998. The club provides after-school and summer programs promoting academic and career development, character and leadership skills, and healthy lifestyles for nearly 1,900 youth and teens each year at two Benton Harbor legacy sites – the Fettig Youth Campus and Joel E. Smilow Teen Center – as well as community-based locations in Benton Heights, St. Joseph, and South Haven.
"There are so many lessons in Dr. King's wise words that continue to inspire generations of people today and at the club," said Mackenzie Kastl, Chief Executive Officer at Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor. "The club's mission is to inspire and enable all young people to realize their full potential, as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. We try to do that in a way that honors the legacy left by Dr. King with a commitment to social justice and equality."
Learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs at www.bgcbh.org.
During Monday's keynote panel discussion, Todman, Britten, and Smith discussed the importance the role of allyship continues to play when it comes to issues of social justice and equity.
"The work that Dr. King did and the things he accomplished were built on foundations of allyship," Todman said. "What does allyship look like in our efforts to push for civil and human rights? What have we learned personally as human beings as individuals in our efforts to be allies in the world to push for human rights, including the right to healthcare?"
Monday's event also included welcoming messages from U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and LMC President Dr. Trevor Kubatzke, an invocation by LMC Vice President of Student Affairs Nygil Likely, and inspirational musical performances by the LMC Concert Choir and All God's Children Choir alumnus Cameron Hampton. The event was emceed by Major Cooper, Dean, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion at LMC.
The MLK Celebration Week, presented by Lake Michigan College and supporting sponsors Kinexus Group, Whirlpool Corp., and United Way of Southwest Michigan, continues with speakers, performances, round table discussions, community service projects, and more. Here is the remaining schedule of events:
• Benton Harbor Water Distribution Volunteer Opportunities
• Volunteer Service Opportunities
• United Way of Southwest Michigan Food Drive
• Electronic Messages for Active Service Members
• United Way of Southwest Michigan 21-day Equity Challenge
• MLK Art Activity Packets
Monday, Jan. 17
4 p.m. – Bridging the Gap in Service (Virtual Panel Discussion)
7 p.m. – Dream Update 2020 (Virtual Panel Discussion)
Tuesday, Jan. 18
Times Vary – Ruby Bridges Trivia (For Elementary Classrooms)
4 p.m. – Unified Civic Monuments Project (Virtual)
7 p.m. – Neighbors Organizing Against Racism (Virtual Panel Discussion)
Thursday, Jan. 20
7 p.m. – Race Relations Council (Virtual Panel Discussion)
Friday, Jan. 21
1:30 p.m. – MLK Live Read (Virtual)
3 p.m. – MLK/Civil Rights History Bee (Virtual)
6 p.m. – Spirit of MLK Spotlights: A Call to Action (Virtual Event)
In addition to these events, several resources also can be found on lakemichigancollege.edu/MLK. These resources include an updated Underrepresented Businesses Directory, an awareness and equity guide to woman-and-minority-owned businesses in Berrien, Van Buren and Cass counties; an MLK Resource Gallery for books, podcasts, films, community resources and more that explore race relations, bias, racism and current events; and MLK Artistic Reflections, where people can submit their creative reflections about King and his legacy.
All events are free. To sign up for individual programs or more information, visit lakemichigancollege.edu/MLK.
For answers to additional questions, contact Jen O’Flynn at 269-927-6590 or email@example.com.