ODI Awarded $1,000 From MLK Grant


The Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) was awarded $1,000 from the North Carolina Martin Luther King Jr. Commission Grant on Jan. 29 in front of Old Main.

The 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Grant Program is “A Call for Civil Discourse,” as elevating in the teachings of Dr. King.

Civil discourse is defined as an engagement in conversation intended to enhance understanding.

ODI, along with other recipients, was given the grant from the N.C. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission.

According to the NCADMIN website, Martin Luther King Jr. Commission works to encourage appropriate ceremonies and activities throughout the state relating to the observance of the legal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday and works to promote among the people of N.C. an awareness and appreciation of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

N.C. State Representative Garland Pierce with MLK Commission Representative Walter Rogers presented the $1,000 grant outside of one of UNCP’s historical buildings, Old Main, where ODI is located.

The ceremony opened up with Rogers congratulating Canida for his work through ODI on keeping King’s message alive. ODI received the grant through the MLK planning committee and King’s annual program.

“It’s a privilege and an honor to receive this grant,” Canida said. “What a way to celebrate and honor Dr. King’s life and legacy.”

Canida announced that ODI is planning on using the $1,000 grant to help support Pembroke Middle School, a public school is Robeson County. ODI will work with the students, ages 11-14, to have them create an individual piece of work that will highlight King’s life or work. The students will engage in one of the three categories; oral, written or art.

“The overall purpose is to instill the importance of speaking up for justice through dialogue and engagement,” he said. “Our project, ‘Living Brave, Engaging Lives,’ will be a testimony to the life, work, and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.”

ODI is known around campus for their many diverse dialogues on 21st century topics or issues.

Pierce was excited to return to UNCP after seeing the institution increase over the past 14 years he has been there.

“I’ve seen this university grow with its many different programs,” he said. “This university has done a lot for the southeastern North Carolina region.”

Like ODI, there was a total of six 2018-2019 recipients who received the MLK grant; Neighborhood Improvement Services and Human Relations Division, City of Durham, Generation Nation of Mecklenburg County, LEAD Girls of N.C., Inc. of Forsyth County, Mediation Center of Eastern Carolina, Pitt County, NAACP of the Davidson County Branch and UNCP Foundation, Inc. of Robeson County.

“It was an honor to award this grant at UNCP, it is a historical move for representing what Martin Luther King Jr. stood for,” Rogers said.

ODI’s goals for achieving this program for Pembroke Middle School is to continue to work with one of their diverse community partners, develop a locally published book with the work of the middle school students who participate in the “Living Brave, Engaging Lives” project and continue changing lives through education and civil discourse.

PN Photo/Octavia Johnson

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