Campus-Wide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Observance: I'm Better Than That - A Tribute to Eric Russell
Join us for a university-wide celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and this Civil Rights leader’s enduring impact within our communities and cultures. We will present I'm Better Than That - A Tribute to Eric Russell at Twinsburg Academic Center (and live-streamed to Burton Campus) on Thursday, January 23, at noon. The featured speaker is Julie Wynne-Martin, Eric’s mother.
This program name reflects a book by the same title, which tells the story of Eric Russell, a Brush High School student who died from meningitis during his senior year. He participated in the Cleveland Urban Journalism Workshop from 2001 until he died in December 2002.
Sponsored by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Workshop was facilitated by Margaret Bernstein when Eric was in the program and for several years after he passed away. Bernstein started a memorial scholarship in Eric’s memory for workshop students who would major in journalism while in college, awarding a total of 12 scholarships in all.
The Urban Journalism Workshop was established in 1989 by Mark Russell, a former Plain Dealer writer of color who is now the executive editor of The Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper in Tennessee. The volunteer-led Urban Journalism Workshop endured in Cleveland, teaching local minority students about the journalism field through a series of Saturday classes in which local reporters trained students in the art of interviewing and writing.
When his high school yearbook labeled him 'Blacky,' Eric Scott Russell had a choice: Run away, retaliate, or stand tall and become a leader. He wrote: “I decided that I had to work to my full potential and try to accomplish all that I could in life so that people would always be able to see...the kind of person that I truly am...I would face the racism and try to correct it.”
~from the book, "I'm Better Than That: A Tribute to Eric Russell”