I Can Achieve founder Mary Scott Hicks has organized the second Three Kings Banquet for Friday, Jan. 3 at Sylacauga’s J. Craig Smith Community Center and it’s her “King cousins,” the late Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr. and their daughter, Yolanda King, who are the honorees.
The event serves as a time to reflect upon the impact these three Kings had, and also to honor a local high school senior with a scholarship for continuing their education, Hicks said.
The occasion begins at 6 p.m. and tickets for the banquet are $15, available by calling Hicks at 918-284-6564 and also at the door the evening of the banquet.
The keynote speakers for the banquet include Sylacauga Mayor Doug Murphree, State Rep. Barbara Boyd and Louis Archer, district superintendent for the United Methodist Church.
Hicks also invited Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley in honor of the event, who sent a written welcome for those attending and commended the I Can Achieve organization for their service to their community.
Boyd has also sent written acknowledgement for the occasion, saluting I Can Achieve for its theme selected and wrote that her theme for 2014 is “To Build, To Bridge and To Bind Through Legislation and Collaboration.”
Boyd continued, saying, “We must continue to build better bridges in the areas of education, economic development, equal access to health care and improving the economy to create more job opportunities. As we build, bind and bridge the gap between political parties, this will improve the quality of life for all the citizens in our community, state and in the nation.”
The theme for the 2014 banquet is “Justice for All - A Journey to a Purpose.” Others who will add to the program include the Rev. Hugh Morris, president for the Talladega County Chapter of the NAACP, the Rev. Henry McGhee and the youth choir from New Hope United Methodist Church of Talladega, Talladega County Probate Judge Billy Atkinson, the Kellyton Chapel United Methodist Choir, musical performers The Golden Eagles of Birmingham and the New Hope Baptist Church of Sylacauga Choir.
A retired educator, Hicks and other volunteers formed I Can Achieve in 1998 with the purpose of becoming advocates for youth and young adults, including the goals of completing their education or returning to school, provide help in finding assistance to pursue higher education, and provide mentors and professional contacts for issues that youth may face.
“Our objective is geared toward meeting the needs of the total man by breaking down the barriers that have kept disadvantaged people and opportunity apart,” Hicks said. “I Can Achieve is not a hospital nor a drug program; it provides referrals to resources for these issues.”
The I Can Achieve Ministry is non-denominational and has no political, corporate or municipal affiliations, she said.
Hicks attributes forming I Can Achieve to encouragement from her cousin, Coretta, who said society should not rest until every child of the human race is well fed, sheltered and educated.
“I feel that I owe a debt to my long line of ancestors as I take a place at the forefront with I Can Achieve,” Hicks said.
For the 2014 banquet, Hicks said she will have her book, “Against the Wind - My Story From Childhood Through the Civil Rights Marches,” available.
The I Can Achieve Ministry meets the second Tuesday of each month at J. Craig Smith Community Center.
“Come and show your support and appreciation for the King family and that they did not die in vain,” Hicks said. “They moved us together in peace, love and understanding. Let us as the state of Alabama show our appreciation. I urge all to come and hear from the ones who are coming to us in a time of need.”