The keynote speaker, Arletta Allen, is a current Marian University student, a mother of four, and a full-time employee at SSM Health. Allen grew up in Yazoo City, Miss. until the age of 10 when her mother moved her and her siblings to Fond du Lac to escape abusive domestic circumstances. After moving to Fond du Lac, Allen and her family were able to utilize a variety of resources in the community to better their family situation. This experience, in part, helped shape Arletta into the women she is today. Her family “weathered a variety of adverse situations, yet overcame these obstacles with the help of God and many good people in our community.” Arletta embraces King’s message of change and encourages each individual to lock arms with another to work together to create that change.
The 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Sprit Award was presented to Margaret Jarek. Jarek was born in Milwaukee, Wis., three months prior to the onset of World War II. She spent the first year of her life in an orphanage, followed by two years in different foster homes before her grandmother became aware of her existence and claimed her. Margaret graduated from Goodrich High School in 1960 and went on to attend Marian College, now Marian University, on a scholarship. She taught grade school in Milwaukee and Fond du Lac. Margaret is an engaging story teller and uses this gift and extensive knowledge to educate others on not only the plight of indigenous people, but of all humanity who suffer injustice. Margaret is resilient and an advocate for justice in our community and beyond. She serves on the board of United for Diversity and is an organizer of The Humanity Project: Telling the Untold Story. She can be seen walking the streets of Fond du Lac listening to, and in conversation with, the people who often do not have a voice in our city’s neighborhoods. When Margaret accepted her award, she indicated it was not solely for her, but rather all the people of Turtle Island (North America).
The MLK Community Prayer Breakfast is held annually. For more information, please visit www.marianuniversity.edu/mlk