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Harry Belafonte’s daughter serves as guest speaker at West Virginia University at Parkersburg’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration program

West Virginia University at Parkersburg will hold a program commemorating the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 12:15 p.m. in the college theater (room 1305), and will be streamed live at the Jackson County Center in room 206. The program is sponsored by WVU Parkersburg’s Social Justice Committee and is free and open to the public.

Adrienne Belafonte Biesemeyer, oldest daughter of singer, actor and social justice activist Harry Belafonte will serve as guest speaker. Belafonte was one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest confidants, marching beside the reverend and serving as key coordinator for many civil rights events including the March on Washington. In 1985, he helped orchestrate the recording of the Grammy award-winning song, “We Are the World,” an effort to raise funds and awareness for humanitarian aid in Africa.

“We are honored to have Biesemeyer share her unique perspective about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” said Debbie Richards, WVU Parkersburg Social Justice Committee co-chair. “This program will reflect on Dr. King’s importance in the civil rights movement and how his legacy influences our conversations about race and inclusion today.”

Biesemeyer is a licensed professional counselor and former chair of the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Counseling. She currently serves as the designer and director of the Center for International Medicine and Cultural Concerns at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg as well as executive director of the Anir Foundation. Started in 1997 by Biesemeyer and her daughter, the Anir Foundation is a volunteer program that serves south African and Caribbean communities by focusing primarily on family assistance in regards to housing, education, HIV, AIDS and STD education and prevention, other health-related issues and cultural heritage preservation.

For more information, contact Debbie Richards at or 304.424.8201.

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