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King’s lessons focus of OBP play

Leaders of Operation Be Proud are relying on art to pierce the veil of violence.

Monday, January 21, 2002

Leaders of Operation Be Proud are relying on art to pierce the veil of violence.

The group will present its play, "E Pluribus Unum…Out of Many One," tonight as a part of its annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration, held at Ohio University Southern Campus. The play is described as a celebration of the lives of the men, women, and children from 80 countries and cultural backgrounds who died on Sept. 11. The play will raise – and attack – a few controversial issues faced in America, such as racism, sexism, first-amendment rights, and religious freedom.

Five characters will explore these issues. The characters, played by Ironton High School students Andrew Cronacher, Katie Huff, Gregg Hill, Katie

Scherer and Randy Blair, come from various backgrounds and interact with one another through life.

"By being a part of the Operation Be Proud’s presentation, I have had the opportunity to learn about how cruel people can sometimes be to those who are not the same as them in race, religious belief, or culture," Scherer, an IHS senior who plays a very judgmental working mother, said. "It has definitely taught me to have a more open mind to others with different beliefs than my own."

Belinda Brown of Operation Be Proud said it is time everyone became aware

of these issues.

"We feel as though these issues need to be brought to the forefront and people need to be educated, not only in this community but all over," she said. "I just don’t think we can be a stronger community without addressing this. That’s why we’re so impressed with these students – they were not afraid to step into these controversial roles."

The main goals, according to the organization, is to acknowledge the issues by bringing them to the forefront of conversation and to challenge people to confront these stereotypes, prejudices and myths.

OBP’s director Robert Pleasant said the play’s message is in tune with the philosophy of Dr. King.

"Often times we forget that Dr. King was a man of God and believed in the power of prayer and spirituality." Pleasant said. "We hope to strengthen Dr. King’s message of peace and love for all of mankind."

This year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration will be held at 7 p.m. tonight at

7 p.m. in the OUSC Bowman Auditorium, following a candlelight memorial at the OUSC flagpole in remembrance of the families and victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.