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Children's Advocate, Reverend Speak at Local MLK Day Events

January 11, 2002

[ Yvette McGee Brown Photo ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- Keynoting the ninth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Breakfast Celebration on Jan. 21 is the recently appointed president of Columbus' new Center for Child and Family Advocacy, Yvette McGee Brown. Her address, entitled "Now is the Time," complements the theme of the celebration. Until recently, Brown was Lead Juvenile Judge of the Franklin County Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court, a position that enabled her to make a difference in and improve the lives of many young people caught in the throes of abuse and family violence. She also was the force behind the country's SMART program, a truancy and educational neglect prevention program.

The new advocacy center at which Brown now works, located next to Children's Hospital, is a partnership between the hospital and the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence.

The King breakfast celebration, which will be held at 8 a.m. in Ohio Wesleyan's Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Benes Room, follows an afternoon service the preceding day, on Jan. 20, with guest speaker the Rev. Dr. Susan Smith, pastor of the Advent United Church of Christ in Columbus, adjunct professor at the Methodist Theological School of Ohio, and a weekly television commentator. The afternoon program begins at 3 p.m. and will be held at Zion A.M.E. Church. Other highlights of the breakfast include greetings from OWU President Tom Courtice and Delaware Mayor Tommy Thompson, performances by OWU's Gospel Lyres, and presentations by OWU students Sayed Ali Tagoe '02, Ruchi Parekh '02, and Jose Daniel Estrada '03.

Voters elected Judge Brown in 1992. She was the first African-American and the second woman to be elected to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations and Juvenile Branch. During her nine-plus years on the bench, she acquired a reputation as a no-nonsense, hands-on professional, always demanding excellence and serving as a visible advocate for children. She has participated on numerous organizations and boards, such as the United Way, YWCA, I KNOW I CAN, and the Coalition Against Family Violence. Brown has been honored by several awards, including the William Oxley Thompson Alumni Award from The Ohio State University, the Champion of Children Award from the Columbus Montessori Education Center, and the Community Service Award from the Junior League of Columbus, to mention a few.

[ Rev. Dr. Susan Smith Photo ]Brown, a native of Columbus, received her undergraduate degree in journalism/public relations from Ohio University in 1982, and her Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1985. She began her public service career as an Ohio Assistant Attorney General and moved on to become Chief Counsel of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, and thereafter, Chief Counsel of the Ohio Department of Youth Services. Just prior to her election to the bench, Brown was a partner in the law firm of Turner, Wright & McGee.

The Rev. Smith is a graduate of Yale Divinity School, where she was president of the student body. She was recognized by Ebony magazine in 1998 as one of the "outstanding black women preachers" in America. Smith is a sought-after writer, lecturer and preacher in this country and abroad.

For more information about the King Breakfast or the afternoon service, contact the chairpersons of these programs, Dr. Theresa Byrd, Director of Libraries at OWU at 740-368-3246 or Deborah Lipscomb, Director of Upward Bound at 740-368-3218. Tickets may be purchased for the breakfast and must be received by Jan. 18.