Black History Month Kicks Off at Minnetrista

Photo by Michelle Jones

Muncie  Mayor and The Martin Luther King Dream Team Kick Off Black History Month at Minnetrista

By Heather Collins

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - Civil Rights activists, community members and leaders, children and Mayor Dennis Tyler gathered on Thursday in the Indiana Room at Minnetrista for the annual Black History Month Kick Off.

The event featured an award show for Community Service leaders, recognition of Martin Luther King essay winners, a keynote presentation by Eva Zymunt on The Shaffer Chapel Restoration Project, and the Mayor’s Proclamation for the Community Service Award to recipient and Star Press staff member, Ivy Farguheson.

The event was hosted by Minnetrista and the Martin Luther King Dream Team. The Martin Luther King Dream is a local non-profit organization that provides Civil Rights programming.

Ball State’s Cardinal Communication hosted an auction during the event which incorporated donated artwork from artists throughout the community.

“We looked for art that reflected peoples dream,” said Joshua Terry, a Ball State Sophomore and Account Director for Cardinal Communications.

Terry said artists were enthusiastic to donate their time, creativity and works of art for the Martin Luther King Dream Team cause. Cardinal Communications has teamed up with the Martin Luther King Dream Team for three initiatives including Create for the Dream, Donate for the Dream and Dine for the Dream.

The Create for the Dream initiative incorporates the art auction featured at the Black History Month Kick-Off. Maris Scheiss donated her work entitled “Ferris Wheel” to the cause. The bidding started at $10 per work of art and grew upwards during the auction. Local business, Ontario Services has donated $75 towards the Donate for the Dream initiative and restaurants such as Richard’s, Scotty’s, Grandma Betty’s and Johnny Carinos have participated in Dine for the Dream initiative.

The Martin Luther King Dream Team encourages community members and businesses to donate spare change in support of telling the story of Central Indiana’s Civil Rights movements to local schools, the community and at events.

The Martin Luther King Dream Team is currently gathering funds to support the creation of the Freedom Bus. The Freedom Bus is a mobile museum which tells the story of Central Indiana’s Civil Rights movement.

Beth Messner, assistant secretary and fundraising chair for the Freedom Bus and the Martin Luther King Dream Team, said the group hopes to roll out the bus out in Spring of 2016. The bus is a retired MITS Bus which was donated to the MLK Dream Team from the city. The group was started into ‘80s by B. Moton Foster, a community leader and Civil Rights activist and spouse of Robert Foster, the first black school administrator in Indiana.

Eva Zygmunt, a Ball State University Associate Professork, presented the key note presentation, which discussed the latest happenings and the story of The Shaffer Chapel Restoration Project which incorporated the story and listening of Billie Holiday’s recording of “Strange Fruit.”

The recognition of the The Martin Luther King Dream Team essay contest winners followed the presentation. Family members, principles, and teachers were recognized during the event. First place winners were asked to read their essays at the podium.

A’Janae Jackson, Grade 4, was the first MLK Dream Team essay winner to read her essay. Her proud father filmed the young girl reading her essay entitled, “Enough” via his iPad and exuded pride and love towards his young daughter following her performance. Winners received a cash prize from Mutual Bank and a certificate from the Martin Luther King Dream Team.

In A’Janae’s essay the young winner hoped for more celebrations on the 5 o’clock news, and enough peace, enough health, and enough wealth for everyone.

Our sentiments exactly.

Follow The Martin Luther King Dream Team on Facebook for the latest events and updates on the Freedom Bus or visit

Contest Winners included:

Elementary Division:

  • 3rd Place – Quentin Markle, Grade 5, Mitchell Elementary, Teacher – Mike Sheffield Title: “Martin Has a Dream, But So Do I!”
  • 2nd Place – Ian Kowalski, Grade 5, Mitchell Elementary Teacher – Mike Sheffield Title: “Martin’s Dream and Mine”
  • 1st Place – A’Janae Jackson, Grade 4, Grissom Elemenatry. Teacher – Brice Miller Title – “Enough”

Middle School Division:

  • 3rd Place – Emma Kinney, Grade 6, Northside MS, Teacher – Melissa Dewitt Title – “Becoming a Fourth Grade Teacher”
  • 2nd Place – Kelby Stallings, Grade 8, Northside MS, Teacher Rebecca Carr Title – “Clean as Last!”
  • 1st Place – Lucy Khatib, Grade 6, Northside MS, Teacher Melissa Dewitt Title – “We Need to Help Syria!”

High School Division:

  • 3rd Place – Andrew Klein, Grade 11, Central HS, Teacher Mike Hritz Title – “I Have A Dream Speech!”
  • 2nd Place – Caytlin Terrill, Grade 11, Central HS, Teacher Mike Hritz Title – “My, I Have a Dream Speech.”
  • 1st Place – Boyd McCoy, Grade 10, Central HS, Teacher Shana Hochsteller Title – “Changing the World through Medical Missions”

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