Martin Luther King Jr. Event

An Evening with john powell

Martin Luther King, Jr. Event

Jan. 19, 2021  |  5 - 6:30 p.m.  |  Pre-Show at 4:45 p.m.

RSVP for the event

SPSCC is pleased to welcome professor john a. powell as the featured speaker for a virtual Martin Luther King, Jr. event. This free event is in part made possible by presenting sponsor Olympia Federal Savings and other generous sponsors.

The Evening's Events

  • 4:45 p.m. Pre-Show
  • 5:00 p.m. History of the MLK Event: The Thurston Group & Alumni Stories
  • 5:15 p.m. Featured Speaker: john a. powell

Get Involved

Give to DEIC programs at SPSCC   Register for noncredit anti-racism classes   explore anti-racism resources to grow yourself   Donate to Thurston Group scholarships

john a. powell

Headshot of john a. powell in black blazerjohn a. powell is Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute and Professor of Law, African American, and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Professor powell is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, structural racism, housing, poverty, and democracy. john has taught at numerous law schools including Harvard and Columbia University. His latest book is Racing to Justice: Transforming our Concepts of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society.

The Thurston Group of Washington State


The name “Thurston Group” was first used in 1994 when Larry A. Jenkins, a bus driver from North Thurston Public Schools, and nine male students from the school district attended a Black Orientation Leadership Development (BOLD) Conference, at Washington State University. The name later evolved into The Thurston Group of Washington State (TTGWS).

Under the direction of Mr. Jenkins, the nine founding members of TTGWS, including African Americans and Native Americans, came together to support events and activities that have played a pivotal role in recruiting students throughout the Pacific Northwest to Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the United States. The organization is supported by all volunteers who meet with local school districts, parents, students, community organizations and chaperone local trips and national tours to HBCUs.

In 1996 TTGWS registered as a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Organization in Washington State. That year TTGWS also formed a dynamic partnership with South Puget Sound Community College. This partnership took on the monumental task of forming and sponsoring its own Students of Color College and University Recruiting Weekend.

From 1996 – 2013 TTGWS successfully recruited approximately 800 students to attend HBCUs and colleges and universities across Washington State. During that time over six million dollars in scholarships were offered to Pacific Northwest high school and second year community college students.

Over the past 23 years, TTGWS has developed relationships and partnerships that have benefited Pacific Northwest students from Vancouver, Canada, to Eugene, Oregon. TTGWS believes that in order to help our youth gain access to the best possible education, we must provide monetary assistance and promote a diverse and competitive education environment. With the help of many individuals and institutional partners, the Thurston Group of Washington State’s greatest success is in helping students of color move on to higher education with monies to support their dreams.

Remembering Larry Jenkins

Sept. 17, 1940 - Dec. 19, 2020

Photo of studio photo of Larry Jenkins wearing a sweater and glasses against a blue backdropLarry Alvin Jenkins was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on September 17,1940, to Kerney Julius Jenkins and Evelyn Davis Jenkins. His parents preceded him in death. Larry was of the Christian faith and grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he graduated from Southern University Laboratory High School. He went on to attend Southern University for a few years and was united in matrimony to Alma Barthelemy on June 3, 1961. Their union was blessed with two daughters, Rachel and Larrie. In 1967 Larry moved his family to Chicago, Illinois where he earned a certificate in Building Construction and Supervision from Chicago Technical College. Larry later moved back to Louisiana, lived in Texas, and eventually settled in Lacey, Washington in 1986.

Learn more about Larry's life and impact >.

Video: Inspiring Alumni Stories

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at SPSCC

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center

DEIC - The A. Barbara Clarkson Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center (DEIC) is committed to supporting the college mission to advance equity and embrace diversity. All students are welcome. When you visit the DEIC, you’ll engage with a diverse group, be part of an inclusive culture, and get support for your own educational goals and development.

Black Scholars Program

Black Scholars Program - The Black Scholars Program helps Black and African American students get through college and graduate by offering mentorship, community, and support services tailored to unique needs around racial identity.

Podcast: The Unheard Outsider

Podcast: The Unheard Outsider - The Unheard Outsider is a space that invites uncomfortable conversations surrounding higher education and social justice. With weekly episodes on Wednesday, tune in on PodBean and join the conversation.

Office of Diversity & Equity

Office of Diversity & Equity - SPSCC is a learning community that embodies social justice, equity, and inclusion through all of its work and the Office of Diversity & Equity. SPSCC seeks to empower students, faculty and staff to fully participate in a society of increasingly diverse identities and experiences. SPSCC actively works to eliminate all forms of discrimination and provide an education that reflects the diversity of our community and a deeper understanding of the dynamics of power and privilege that perpetuate inequity and inequality.

Event Sponsors

Presenting sponsor is OlyFed. Social Media sponsor is Community Foundation of South Puget Sound. Community & Corporate sponsors are City of Olympia, rdh enterprises, the evergren state college, thurston county edc, saint martins university and washington state lottery. Friends of the foundation is Panorama.