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MLK’s legacy to be focus of commemorative service

by Minden Press-Herald

During the weekend of the 30th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, Sunday will be a time of reflection and commemoration in honor of the late civil rights leader. The theme for this year will be “The King in Me.”

At 3 p.m., at St. Rest Baptist Church, located at 611 East Union, a commemorative service will take place to honor and reflect on King’s legacy.

The keynote speaker for the service will be Dr. Kiki Baker-Barnes, a Minden native and Dillard University Athletic Director. She is a 1993 graduate of Minden High School, where she was a standout athlete. She continued her educational and athletic pursuits at South Plains College, where she graduated in 1995. Continuing to strive for excellence, she graduated from the University of New Orleans in 1997, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2001 and the University of New Orleans in 2014.

As athletic director at Dillard University, Barnes has distinguished herself as an outstanding professional, community servant and mentor. She assumed the leadership role in Dillard’s athletic department in 2006. She simultaneously held the position of head coach of women’s basketball team until March 2013. Her initial responsibility was to facilitate the return of the athletics program after it was shuttered following Hurricane Katrina. She has not only resurrected the program, but she has also grown the program into a national model of student-athlete success and community service.

Since taking the helm, Dillard’s athletic program has seen the establishment of new sports teams and the university’s first endowed athletic scholarship. A leader in sports administration, she was elected President of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)(2009), directing its growth after several universities departed for other conferences.

Her professional associations and affiliations include but are not limited to the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, the National Association of College Women Athletic Administrators, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes is the daughter of Bobby and the Rev. Linda Baker; and has three siblings, Cory, Bobby Jr., and Shara. She is married to Marc Barnes and they have two children, Caitlin and Marc Jr.

Youth Rally/Forum

On Monday, around 11 a.m., immediately following the MLK parade the youth rally and forum will take place. Fayrine Kennon-Gilbert, committee chairperson, said the forum will include a host of speakers.

Minden Natives Shantrell Williams, a former Minden High School basketball player, and her husband Tramon Williams, a Cleveland Browns defensive back, will be a part of the panel. Also, Jessica Gipson-Elie a former MHS basketball player and girls basketball head coach of Green Oaks High School, Derrick Parker and Nathaniel Hamilton, co-owners of HeartWorks, along with several others will participate in the open dialogue with youth in attendance.

The E.S. Richardson Roadrunner Choir and area youth will also be featured.

Immediately following the parade, the winners of the parade contest, essay and poster contests will be announced.

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