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Dr. King Speaks At Rally

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2022 marks the 17th year of the annual Durham City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Employee Observance Program. Durham’s local governments will join to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the week of the MLK Day holiday. The virtual event will include two speakers and a special musical dedication. The emcee of this year’s celebration is Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal.

This year’s speakers are Reverend Lakesha Bradshaw Easter and Stan C. Kimer, with a special musical selection by City of Durham employee, Toya Merritt.

Rev. Bradshaw Easter is pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Durham. She received a degree in Psychology from Clark Atlanta University. While in undergrad at CAU, Rev. Bradshaw Easter attended Hillside Chapel and Truth Center. Under the transformational leadership of the Rev. Dr. Barbara King, she began to walk more fully into her calling to “use her life as a living example of God and truth”.  Rev. Bradshaw Easter earned a Master of Divinity degree at Howard University.  During her seminary education, she studied abroad conducting research on “West African Religions of Ghana and Ancient Christianity in Ethiopia. Rev. Bradshaw Easter was awarded the Thomas A. and Alfie W. Fellowship for academic excellence. She completed additional study at the world-renowned Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation.  A natural contemplative, she is a contributing author to “Embodied Spirits: Stories of Spiritual Directors of Color,” and is frequently requested to facilitate workshops, prayer groups and spiritual retreats. She is passionate about creating spaces where all of God’s children feel welcomed and loved. Rev. Bradshaw Easter is married to Keith Easter and they two toddlers who love to spend family time reading, swimming, and dancing.

Stan C. Kimer, owner of Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer, is a nationally recognized consultant and speaker on all areas of workplace diversity with a deep expertise in LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) diversity. Since retiring from IBM and forming his own consultancy, Stan has trained or spoken in over 125 venues reaching over 7,500 professionals.  He is a certified Out and Equal Workplace Advocates Building Bridges Trainer and a certified Training Management Corp / Berlitz Cultural Competency Trainer / Practitioner. Stan has been active in many local and state organizations including serving as President of the North Carolina Council of Churches and on the board of the Carolina LGBT Chamber of Commerce.  In 2013, Stan was honored by the Triangle Business Journal with one of their “Roles Models in Diversity” awards. Stan holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Georgia Tech and MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and in his spare time trains as a competitive adult figure skater.

This year’s musical selection is led by City of Durham employee Toya Merritt. A Senior Business Systems Analyst for the City of Durham Neighborhood Improvement Services Department, Merritt has been a long-standing member of the City-County Martin Luther King, Jr. Employee Choir. She has partnered BlackOpps Entertainment and BYoung Productions for the recording of this year’s musical selection.

All community members seeking a way to commemorate the Dr. King’s impact on the nation and the world are invited to visit the visit the primary social media pages for the County and City to view the series beginning January 17. The compilated presentation of speakers and music will air on the Durham Television Network on January 20.

Use the following links to access the upcoming observance program series:

The Durham City-County MLK Observance Program began in 2005 as a way for Durham’s local government employees to pay tribute to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his history as a progressive human rights leader. Over the years, program attendance has expanded to include residents of Durham and neighboring communities. Individuals, businesses, and organizations are invited to watch this year’s virtual commemoration and join City and County employees in uplifting justice, diversity, and equal rights for all.

For more information about this year’s program, contact the Durham County Manager’s Office by email at



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