A Martin Luther King Day Celebration

The Pero Center for Intersectionality Studies at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago presents a day of ministry and discussion as we explore the theme, “Where do we go from here?”

We invite you to join us for this special chapel service, lunch, and panel discussion commemorating Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Monday, January 16, 2023, at 12:00 p.m.

Special Chapel Service at noon located in the Augustana Chapel

Headshot of Reginald W. Sharpe Jr.

This year LSTC kicks-off its MLK Day celebration in the Augustana Chapel and via zoom with guest pastor, Rev. Reginald Sharpe, of Fellowship Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois and special music presented by The Keith Hampton Singers.

Panel Discussion and Lunch in the 3rd Floor East Conference Room

Join us for lunch and a panel discussion on the theme, “Where do we go from here?”, with esteemed guest panelists Dwight McKee, Social Scientist; Santita Jackson, Radio Show Host and Political Analyst; Rev. Dr. Richard Perry Jr., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Church and Society, LSTC; and June Porter, Civil Rights Activist. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Linda Thomas, Professor of Theology and Anthropology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC).

Access the event using THIS LINK.

Speaker Bios

Headshot of Dwight McKee

Dwight McKee

Dwight McKee is a social scientist with a specialty in Social Policy and Communication. As a teenager, he was a founding board member of SCLC’s (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) Operation Breadbasket and Operation PUSH. He was also the National Youth Director of both organizations. His civil rights involvements also include being chief policy strategist for NAN (National Action Network), the organizational base of Rev. Al Sharpton. Mr. McKee was instrumental in launching Rev. Sharpton’s presidential bid.

In the field of Communications, Mr. McKee is an architect and innovator in the music and film industries. As the National Program Director of NATRA (National Association of Television and Radio Artists) he was responsible for developing the strategies that advanced the interests of blacks and all facets of media. He was Executive Producer of the highly claimed PBS music special GOSPEL AT THE SYMPHONY, one of the highest rated television specials in PBS history, earning Mr. McKee an EMMY nomination. The soundtrack was also nominated for two Grammys.

He created the Lection label at PolyGram Records which, for the first time, brought the major music companies into the world of Gospel music. 

His unique musical expression, which he labeled “The Neo Gospel Sound,” _revolutionized Gospel music, and he is credited with transforming the genre. He has managed and worked with such artists as Edwin Hawkins, Walter and Tramaine Hawkins, Richard Smallwood, The Emotions, and Earth Wind and Fire. He has also developed projects with Sony Music, Buddha, and Motown.

His social policy resume includes having led the team that reconstructed Chicago’s minority’s set-a-side program after the Supreme Courts’ decision redefined the criteria that was the basis of the original program. Dwight McKee’s youth initiative, SOY (Save Our Youth), had been responsible for mentoring and training thousands of young people across the country through his affiliation with youth organizations such as Young Life, one of the largest Christian youth organizations in the World. He also conducted Christian youth development workshops in the Philippines under the Marcos regime and was part of a fact-finding delegation to Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and East and West Germany, during the fall of The Berlin Wall, exploring the consequences of the fall of Communism on the contemporary church.

Proclaimed by Dr. Cornell West as one of the “intellectual giants of our time,” Mr. McKee is a founding Director of the NBBTA (National Black Business Trade Association) based in Florida. His primary responsibilities include creating schematics for the growth and development of small black businesses across the country. He is currently Chairman of Star North Communications, a communications and social policy corporation based in Chicago, IL, and Co-Chair of Futures Capital; a think tank developing trade opportunities for African Americans with Africa, China, and Israel.

Headshot of Sanita Jackson

Santita Jackson

Santita Jackson, born in Greensboro, North Carolina and reared in Chicago, known as the “Queen of Talk Radio, she has been blessed with a wide-ranging career. She is Executive Producer/Producer/Host of the top-rated, syndicated radio show, “The SANTITA JACKSON SHOW,” which is based on America’s largest Progressive Talk Radio station, Chicago’s WCPT820. She also serves as the Executive Producer/ Producer/Co-host of the nationally-syndicated radio show, “KEEP HOPE ALIVE with REV. JESSE JACKSON.” Additionally, she is the host of the FREE SPEECH TV television series, “DEMOCRACY ON THE BRINK.”

An internationally recognized vocalist, she has toured with Roberta Flack, performed with OPERA EBONY, sung the National Anthem at the Clinton inauguration, and has recorded an album of US Senator Orrin Hatch’s songs.

A Political Analyst and Contributor on the FOX News Network, who has given commentary and appeared on PBS, MSNBC, The TODAY SHOW and GOOD MORNING AMERICA. Santita is also a writer who is a founding contributor to MSNBC’s TheGRIO, whose work has most recently been published in ROLLING STONE Magazine.

Headshot of Rev. Dr. Richard J. Perry, Jr., Ph.D.

The Rev. Dr. Richard J. Perry, Jr., Ph.D.

Richard J. Perry, Jr. is professor emeritus of Church and Society at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Carthage College and a master’s degree from LSTC. After divinity school, he was called to serve Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gary, Indiana. During this time, he became active with the Lutheran Human Relations Association of America (LHRAA) and served as a member of the board, its treasurer, and board president.

After one and half years in this ministry, Richard began graduate study at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC). He earned a Th.M. and Th.D. in Systematic Theology with a specialization in Ethics. During this time, he attended Princeton Theological Seminary and studied with Dr. Peter Paris, a prominent African American ethicist in partial fulfillment of the Black Scholars Program of LSTC.

In June 1995, Richard accepted a call to join the faculty of LSTC as Assistant Professor of Church and Society/Urban Ministry. In 1996, Perry delivered a paper on “Lutheran Ethics in a World of Poverty and Plenty” at the second Conference of International Black Lutherans (CIBL) conference held in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Perry also delivered a paper on “Justification and Racial Justice” at the third Conference of International Black Lutherans (CIBL) conference held in Wittenberg, Germany.

Richard is a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Robbins, Illinois. Even though he has retired from active ministry, he continues to serve in the ELCA. He is a member of the Advisory Council for the Journal of Lutheran Ethics, represents the Lutheran Ethicists Network on the Theological Roundtable and serves as convenor of the Conference of International Black Lutherans (CIBL, USA).

Headshot of June C. Porter

June C. Porter

June C. Porter was born on June 19, 1934, in Kansas City, Missouri. She attended Sumner Highschool and Kansas City Junior College in Kansas City, Kansas. She received a BA in English Literature in 1956 from Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas. At that time, she was one of 4 Black students enrolled and the only Black female student in the predominantly white college of more than 500 students. In 1958, she became a US2 Home Missionary of the Woman’s Division of the United Methodist Church, serving as a teacher at the Boylan Haven School for Girls in Jacksonville, Florida.

June married Rev. Dr. Kwame John R. Porter in December 1961 and from their union 6 children were born. She has 14 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. June Porter is a distinguished educator, having taught preschool, elementary, and high school students. She has taught in public, private, religious, and nonprofit education systems. In 2017, June retired from Literacy Chicago after serving more than 30 years as director for adult literacy, teaching hundreds of adult and ESL (English as a Second Language) students to read as well as training tutors to work with adult students.

Her late husband, Dr. John Porter, a pastor and activist in the civil rights movement, worked with black gangs and poor people on the South Side of Chicago. Their church, Christ United Methodist in Englewood, was vital to the movement and a hub for civil rights activities. It was the first affiliate chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Chicago. June had the opportunity to meet Dr. King on two occasions when he visited Englewood and spoke at Christ Church on the civil injustices of the land and solutions for Black people to fight for their freedoms.

A faithful woman of God and lifelong Methodist, June is a member of the United Church of Hyde Park. Mentored by Mrs. Alfreda Duster, the daughter of Ida B. Wells, June is a member of the Alfreda Wells Duster Civic Club and is past president. June is a leader, confidant, activist, poet, educator, encourager, director, mentor, motivator, prayer warrior, and blessing to so many. She often shares these words of wisdom given to her by her late grandmother, “All that you do, do with your might, things done by half are never done right.”

Dr. Linda Thomas poses in front of the purple “The Geometry of Space and Time” sculpture in San Antonio in a matching outfit.

Dr. Linda Thomas

Dr. Linda Thomas is Professor of Theology and Anthropology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC). Her research and teaching interests focus on cultural anthropology and its intersection with theology, ethics, and African-American and gender studies, with the aspiration to teach women and men to think critically, diversify their epistemological perspectives, and pursue social justice in a wide variety of contexts. In addition to fieldwork in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, and the Caribbean, her publications include the books Under the Canopy:  Ritual Process and Spiritual Resilience in South Africa (University of South Carolina Press, 1999), and Living Stones in the Household of God: The Legacy and Future of Black Theology (Augsburg Fortress, 2004). She is also co-editor of the Palgrave Macmillan series “Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice,” and was chosen to deliver the 2007 Taylor Lectures at Yale University. 

Headshot of Reginald W. Sharpe Jr.

Reginald W. Sharpe Jr.

The Reverend Reginald Wayne Sharpe Jr., first born child of Reginald Sr. and Fay Phillips-Sharpe, serves as Senior Pastor of the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois. Sharpe is a proud native of Lithonia, Georgia, and a son of The Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church ~ The House of Hope Atlanta.

Sharpe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia (2013), a Master of Theological Studies degree from Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee (2016), and a Master of Theology degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (2018). Currently, Sharpe is pursuing a Ph.D. in African American Preaching and Sacred Rhetoric at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. Pastor Sharpe is one of the proud charter members of the Academy of Preachers and was one of the youngest inducted into The Martin Luther King Jr. Board of Preachers at Morehouse College in 2018. He also taught as an adjunct professor in the Religion and Philosophy Department at Morehouse College. Among his many distinctions, Pastor Sharpe is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

Pastor Sharpe faithfully served as Campus Pastor of the House of Hope Macon for 3.5 years. Under Sharpe’s dynamic and Spirit-led leadership, the church experienced astronomical growth both spiritually and numerically.

Since December 31, 2019, Pastor Sharpe has faithfully served as the Senior Pastor of the historic Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. Sharpe is honored to follow in the pastoral lineage of the late Reverend Clay Evans and Pastor Charles Jenkins. Under the leadership of Pastor Sharpe, Fellowship Chicago has experienced astonishing growth in all aspects of ministry, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. After suspending in-person worship in March 2020, Fellowship launched #TheVirtualShip, a virtual extension of the churches ministry, which engages an average weekly audience of 25,000 people. Sharpe unrelentingly believed that, “Although the building was closed, the church was still open.”

While Pastor Reginald Wayne Sharpe Jr. is mostly known for his preaching ministry, those closest to him know that he values quality time with family and friends, is a committed student of theology and homiletics, and believes in the virtue of kindness. In December 2015, Pastor Sharpe married the gifted and talented, Brianna Sullivan Sharpe. Together they serve in ministry and currently live in Chicago, Illinois.

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