Rev. Talmadge J. Thomas of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Ohio Urges Young People to Get Involved

In his keynote address, the Rev. Talmadge J. Thomas praises the Alpha Xi Lambda Chapter at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholarship breakfast at the Pinnacle in Maumee. THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
In his keynote address, the Rev. Talmadge J. Thomas praises the Alpha Xi Lambda Chapter at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Scholarship breakfast at the Pinnacle in Maumee. THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT

The Rev. Talmadge J. Thomas praised the local alumni chapter of the nation’s oldest African-American intercollegiate fraternity Saturday for awarding scholarships to young black men and called on them to participate in their families, churches, schools, and communities without delay.

“If not now — when?” Pastor Thomas of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church said during an address at the 23rd annual Martin Luther King Scholarship breakfast celebration. “We have to be concerned about more than just ourselves. … We have to move from protest to participation. … We ought to make sure that we engage in our community.”

Pastor Thomas spoke before about 450 people who filled a banquet hall in the Pinnacle in Maumee to near capacity. Daniel B. Johnson, local chapter president of Alpha Phi Alpha’s local chapter, Alpha Xi Lambda, said the event was moved to the Pinnacle this year because of growing attendance. This year’s theme was “Fulfilling the Dream.”

“What spoke to me more than anything [from the keynote address] was … the community aspect of it, about bringing people love with you,” said Keon Rayford, 18, of Toledo, a Bowling Green State University freshman and a 2014 winner of the Alpha Phi Alpha college scholarship.

“You cannot say that you are going to get there and you are not bringing people love with you, because when you get up there you will be lonely, with everybody looking at you at the top, wondering how you are going to help them,” he said.

Mr. Rayford, a 2014 Rogers High School graduate, said his scholarship means a lot to him.

“When I was at home, my mom did not have a lot of money to send me to college, so having a scholarship like this — that could send me to school without my mom having to worry about how I am doing and things of that nature — is just really a big relief,” he said.

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Source: Toledo Blade | MIKE SIGOV

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