On Monday, February 21st, the Delaware campus held its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Program in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom. The program included a tribute to New Castle County Councilman Jea P. Street, who was awarded the 2nd annual Martin Luther King Semester of Service Award. The program also served to kick-off Diversity Week and featured the launch of the Fifth Annual Martin Luther King Semester of Service Program.
“Councilman Street, thank you for allowing us to honor you for everything that you’ve done,” said Dean Linda L. Ammons
in her opening remarks before announcing that last year’s Semester of Service had seen students donate 1,000 hours of their time.
Professor Bob Hayman
noted that the purpose of the program was to honor “the courage and conviction of some local civil rights heroes,” before he introduced the program’s featured speaker, Leland L. Ware, the Louis L. Redding Chair and Professor of Law & Public Policy at the University of Delaware.
Professor Ware called Councilman Street “a relentless advocate for equality,” before discussing the history of desegregation efforts in Delaware. He concluded his remarks by saying, “It is because of Jea’s leadership that we are where we are today. We still have a ways to go, and I’m sure that he will continue to push and fight.”Dr. Sydney Howe-Barksdale
, the Director of the Public Interest Resource Center
, then spoke briefly about the Martin Luther King Semester of Service and encouraged the students in attendance to get involved. Interested students can obtain additional information at the PIRC offices.
The ceremony concluded with the presentation of the Semester of Service Award to Councilman Street. Dean Linda Ammons presented the Councilman with a commemorative clock and stated that his name would be added to the plaque that commemorates the award winners. Councilman Street joins last year’s winner, Judge Murray M. Schwartz.
The Councilman spoke briefly after the award presentation, thanking his wife for making his work possible. He stated that he believed that the fight for equality in Delaware was not over, and he said to the students in attendance that as future judges and lawyers, “The destiny of fairness in this country is going to go into your hands.”