Martin Luther King Jr. Event with Keynote Spencer Paysinger. "Overcoming the Obstacles to Educational Opportunity". Jan. 12, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts Main Stage in Building 21.

Martin Luther King Jr. Event

Sponsored by OlyFed

Keynote: Spencer Paysinger 
January 12, 2024, 7:30 p.m. 
Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts - Main Stage (Bldg. 21)

Admission is free for SPSCC students, staff, and faculty. General admission is $15.

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About Spencer Paysinger

A Super Bowl-champion linebacker turned Hollywood writer/producer, Spencer Paysinger brought his own poignant story of living in South Central LA and playing football at Beverly Hills High to the hit CW and Netflix series, All American.

“It’s a story about being an outsider in two worlds,” says Paysinger, who developed the award-winning show and is integrally involved as a producer.

“All American shows that it doesn’t matter where you’re from. We all go through the same sadness, loss and sorrow. It’s a real-life story about making connections and starting conversations between people that may not have had conversations before.”

About 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.

March 19, 1932 - Nov. 13, 2022

Virgil Clarkson exemplified community leadership, grace, generosity, and fellowship. The influential work he and his wife, Barbara Clarkson, have done to advance equity through the Thurston Group of Washington State and to support SPSCC students through the A. Barbara Clarkson Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Center, is just one of the many extraordinary ways his life will continue to positively impact our students and community.

Learn more about Virgil's life and impact.

Sept. 17, 1940 - Dec. 19, 2020

Larry 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.

Presenting Sponsor

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Premier Sponsor

Community Foundation logo

Corporate and Community Sponsors

Doug Mah & Associates logo North Thurston Public Schools logo Olympia Washington logo
Evergreen College logo   Thurston County Chamber Foundation logo