The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 20, 2013

Person of the Week: Keeping legacy alive: NAACP program remembers Martin Luther King Jr.

JOHNSTOWN — Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy is being remembered this week in observances throughout the nation.

Laura Perry-Thompson is doing her part to spread King’s message.

As co-chairwoman of the Johnstown Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s 27th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Remembrance Program, she has been busy.

“It’s important to be involved with the program to carry on the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., especially in terms of making the youths aware of his legacy,” said Perry-Thompson about why she has helped with the program for many years.

“His (King’s) focus was on equal opportunities for everyone and peace.

“We, as members of the NAACP and the community as a whole, want to work to ensure equal rights and opportunities for everyone.”

Perry-Thompson believes it is especially important to make young people aware of what King had accomplished.

“They need our support to carry on that very important work,” said Perry-Thompson, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Master of Social Work program, located on the campus of Pitt-Johnstown.

“My involvement started last spring by looking at ways to get the youths more connected in the community and more involved in the NAACP.”

The Johnstown Branch established a youth council and held a youth membership drive, she said.

“The youth joined and started to participate in educational and social activities, again focusing on the mission of the NAACP and Martin Luther King Jr.”

When it came time to selecting a keynote speaker for the King observance that was held Sunday at Mount Sinai Institutional Baptist Church, Conemaugh, the Johnstown Branch wanted someone who could instill the importance of King’s message in youths.

They decided on Leah P. Hollis, a Johnstown native and noted educator, researcher and lecturer.

Hollis also will lead a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service youth workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Mount Sinai church, Perry-Thompson said.

“The goal of the workshop is for the youths to be able to highlight what their talents are, and how they can encourage others to carry on the goal of Martin Luther King Jr.,” said the senior officer for equity and inclusion at Pitt-Johnstown.

Perry-Thompson believes it is important to serve the community.

She is an active member at Christ Centered Community Church in Johnstown, a longtime member of the board of directors of the Women’s Help Center and a member of the Johnstown Symphony Chorus.

For her efforts, the Richland Township resident is the Person of the Week.

Alan G. Cashaw, president of the Johnstown Branch of the NAACP, said Perry-Thompson has spent decades helping others.

“Remembering and recognizing Martin Luther King’s contributions is one of the ways she helps folks in the community,” he said.

“She gets them to remember and understand how Dr. King contributed to their standing in social equality through his efforts and suffering in the 1950s and 1960s.”

Cashaw said also co-chairing Sunday’s remembrance program for King was the Rev. Richard Williams, pastor of Heavenly Sent Ministries in East Conemaugh.

Williams likewise has been working hard to keep King’s legacy alive, he said.

“He has built up quite a large community relationship with the Martin Luther King Jr. program,” Cashaw said.

Perry-Thompson and her husband, John Thompson, have a son, Eugene, who lives in North Carolina.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Early morning police raid in Prospect area leads to arrest warrant

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. this morning.

    April 18, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 18, 2014

  • new councilman Judge fills City Council vacancy

    A lifelong Johnstown resident who has never sought election to public office was named Thursday to fill the vacancy on City Council.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads