Twinsburg Academic Center Hosts MLK Day Celebration

Kent State faculty and staff are invited to participate in a free university-wide celebration in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s enduring impact on our communities and cultures.

On Thurs., Jan. 23, from noon – 1 p.m., the Twinsburg Academic Center will present “I'm Better Than That - A Tribute to Eric Russell.” The featured speaker is Julie Wynne-Martin, Eric’s mother.

The program, which will be live streamed to the Burton Campus, reflects a book by the same title that tells the story of Eric Russell, a Brush High School student who died from meningitis during his senior year. Russell participated in the Cleveland Urban Journalism Workshop from 2001 until his death in December 2002.

Sponsored by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the workshop was facilitated by Margaret Bernstein. Bernstein started a memorial scholarship in Eric’s memory for college students majoring in journalism, awarding a total of 12 scholarships.

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 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.”

For more information, contact Amy Murfello at

POSTED: Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 4:44pm
UPDATED: Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 6:58am