Sen. Marlon Kimpson to speak at annual MLK breakfast

South Carolina Sen. Marlon Kimpson will be the featured speaker at the University of South Carolina’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration breakfast Tuesday (Jan. 12).

The university began its annual celebrations to honor King’s life and legacy more than 30 years ago and was one of the first major universities in the South to do so. In addition to the breakfast, events include a panel discussion and gospel festival, each supporting the theme of promoting education to ensure equality and justice for all people in the United States.

Kimpson, who represents Charleston and Dorchester counties, will speak at the annual MLK breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in The Zone, located in the south end zone of Williams-Brice Stadium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, available at the Koger Center box office. Each year, the breakfast draws hundreds from the campus and the greater community.

Kimpson, an attorney specializing in whistleblowing and securities fraud with the Motley Rice law firm, has represented District 42 since 2013 and has been committed to enacting laws that improve the health, education and economic well-being of South Carolinians. He has been among the state’s strongest advocates for social justice and equity. He provided support to Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, which lost nine of its members in a tragic shooting last June.

He is chairman of the Closing the Gap in Healthcare Scholarships for African-American students at the Medical University of South Carolina and has served on the boards for the Carolina Youth Development Center, Charleston Trident Urban League and UofSC Board of Visitors as well as president of the Charleston Black Lawyers Association and first vice chair of the S.C. Democratic Party. Kimpson graduated from Morehouse College in 1991 and the UofSC School of Law in 1999.

The commemoration will continue with a panel discussion at 6 p.m. Jan. 14 in the School of Law auditorium. The discussion will feature university law graduates South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal; Bob Coble, former Columbia mayor and lawyer with Nexsen Pruet; and Rep. Mia McLeod and law professor Eboni Nelson who teaches a course on race, class and education. The annual event, which is free and includes a reception, is sponsored by the Black Law Students Association.

An annual MLK Gospel Festival on Jan. 17 will conclude the MLK celebrations. Taking place at 6 p.m. in the Koger Center, the festival will feature the Brookland Baptist Gospel Choir and Pastor Shawn Jones and the Believers, an all-male gospel quartet from Rockford, Ala., that has performed at gospel festivals nationally since 2010. The program also will feature remarks by the Rev. Chris Leevy Johnson, a university graduate and director of Leevy’s Funeral Home.

Tickets to the MLK Gospel Festival are $10 per person and $8 for students and will be available for sale at the Koger Center box office.

In addition to offering public events, the university conveys its commitment to King’s legacy through service. Students, faculty and staff participate in two days of community service activities and a food drive for the Gamecock Pantry, which benefits students in need, and explore ways to promote and advocate for equality.

For more information about UofSC’s 2016 MLK commemorative events, call 803-777-3854 and visit the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs website.