‘Make a Way’ at MLK Unity Celebration

January 15, 2013 | Events, UToday
By Vicki L. Kroll

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in moving forward, improving the human condition and the lives of all.



The Nobel Peace Prize winner who led the civil rights movement will be honored at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Celebration.

“Make a Way” is the theme of the 12th annual event, which will take place Monday, Jan. 21, at 9 a.m. in Savage Arena. The program will be shown live on WGTE Ch. 30 and then rebroadcast at 1 and 8 p.m.

Slated to speak are UT President Lloyd Jacobs and Toledo Mayor Mike Bell.

John Barfield, founder and chair emeritus of the Bartech Group Inc., will give the keynote address.

“This year’s theme, ‘Make a Way,’ is fitting as we strive to create jobs, grow small business, and nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship in northwest Ohio,” Jacobs said. “Mr. Barfield is a nationally known entrepreneur, and his story embodies making a way not only for himself but for others.”

In 2012, Barfield retired as chair, president and CEO of Bartech Group Inc. after 32 years with the staffing and human resources company based in Livonia, Mich. The company employs and manages the daily work assignments for more than 26,000 associates and more than $2 billion in procurement for major employers around the world. In 1999, The Wall Street Journal called Barfield and the company one of “America’s great success stories.”

Barfield now is president and CEO of LJ Holdings Investment Co. LLC, which is based in Tallahassee, Fla. The business focuses on venture capital, real estate, talent management and human capital services.

Early in his career, Barfield was president of Barfield Manufacturing Co. and practiced corporate and securities law in Chicago.

In addition to the speakers, the program will feature performances by the Toledo Youth Choir and the Interfaith Mass Choir. The 2013 UT MLK Scholarship recipients also will be announced.

A free community luncheon will follow the ceremony.

All attendees of the Unity Celebration, which is open to the public, are asked to bring a canned good or nonperishable item that will be donated to the MLK Kitchen for the Poor, 650 Vance St. in downtown Toledo.

“We are grateful that the spirit of Dr. King’s life lives on at The University of Toledo and in the great city of Toledo,” Jacobs said. “It is an indomitable spirit, a righteous spirit, but it will not live alone. It is for us — for you, for me, for our children — to nurture and foster so it continues to live and so that someday soon his dream may be fully realized.”

The event is being organized by Unity Day Committee Co-Chairs Dr. Shanda Gore, UT associate vice president for equity, diversity and community engagement, and Bill Stewart, special assistant to the mayor, and is hosted by the city of Toledo and the University.

For more information, contact Stewart at 419.245.1154 or the UT Office of Special Events at 419.530.2200.

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