Veteran journalist and TV personality Ed Gordon will headline the Metropolitan Community College Chancellor’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Luncheon, to be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas will join Gordon for a panel discussion moderated by Steve Kraske of KCUR-FM.
The annual luncheon is a fundraiser for the MCC Foundation, which awards a variety of student scholarships and supports other student success initiatives. About half of MCC students qualify for grants or scholarships to help offset the cost of tuition, books and other educational expenses.
“Events like the MLK luncheon showcase what we are about at MCC and what we do for students,” Chancellor Kimberly Beatty says. “We offer greater access by making education affordable, and we embrace diversity and inclusion.”
Five MCC students — one from each MCC campus — will be awarded MLK Chancellor’s Scholarships at the event. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must show evidence of community service and leadership potential through a written essay, submit two letters of recommendation and have a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher.
“The most important and rewarding part of my job is enabling students to go to school with little or no debt,” MCC Foundation Executive Director Jessica Ramirez says. “Events like the Chancellor’s MLK Luncheon allow us to provide that opportunity for our students. And, it’s doubly exciting, because five MCC students receive scholarships for a full year of paid tuition at the event.”
Gordon’s book “Conversations in Black: On Power, Politics, and Leadership” is set for release by Hatchette Book Group Jan. 14.
The book, described by the publisher as “sage wisdom for navigating race in a radically divisive America,” is a natural capstone to a celebrated journalism career spanning more than three decades. Gordon has worked for NBC News (“Dateline” and “Today”), CBS News (“60 Minutes II”), MSNBC, National Public Radio and other news organizations, but he is best known for his coverage of social and political issues on “BET News” and “BET Tonight.”
In 1996, Gordon was the first journalist granted the opportunity to interview former football star O.J. Simpson following his acquittal for the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Not one to shy away from the difficult questions, Gordon opened his interview of Simpson with the question, “Did you commit those murders?” In a Los Angeles Times story following the interview, Howard Rosenberg stated, “The multitudes had their doubts about the O.J. Simpson interview. Yet he was forthright. He was incisive. He was earnest. He was commanding. He was believable. He was intelligent. He was perceptive. He was unwavering. He was undaunted. He was, in short, close to being exemplary. And Simpson was pretty impressive, too.”
In “Conversations in Black,” Gordon asks questions that are pertinent in today’s politically charged climate, such as “Do black lives really matter?” and “Are black people better off after the Obama presidency?” The book features thought-provoking responses from some of America’s most prominent African-American voices, including Stacey Abrams, Harry Belafonte, Charlamagne tha God, Michael Eric Dyson, Alicia Garza, Jemele Hill, Iyanla VanZant, Eric Holder, Killer Mike, Angela Rye, Al Sharpton, TI and Maxine Waters.
To become a sponsor or purchase tickets for the MCC Chancellor’s Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon, go to mcckc.edu/mlkluncheon.