Alicia Shropshire


CLARION — Alicia Shropshire will be the keynote speaker for the 9th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Breakfast, presented at 9 a.m. Jan. 18 as a free Zoom webinar. This year’s theme is “The King Legacy: What You Do for Others.”

“While we’re disappointed that we aren’t able to gather in person, we hope that the community will join the webinar while enjoying breakfast at home,” said Amy Salsgiver, Clarion University director of social equity and chair of the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Committee. “It is more important than ever to share Rev. King’s message of peace, unity and service.”

To join the webinar, go to

Keynote speaker Alicia Shropshire, a 2004 graduate of Clarion University, is celebrating her ninth year as a professional artist in Pittsburgh and the tri-state area. As an entertainer, writer, instructor, promoter and producer Shropshire has networked meaningful and rewarding relationships that stretch across the ocean from Coney Island sword swallowers to internationally ranked burlesque kings and queens.

While touring in music festivals, conventions, and Hollyburgh movie sets, Shropshire saw a constant, observable trend with a growing need of being addressed. Fellow artists and activists like jazz chanteuse Phat Man Dee and Liz Berlin of Rusted Root saw it, too. When Man Dee and Berlin assembled Social Justice Disco in 2016, a culturally diverse activist music project reviving the energy of disco with the power of protest songs, Shropshire initially was brought in as a dancer. Her role grew quickly: Over the last four years, she has led workshops with Man Dee in the spiritual and artistic communities to combat cultural appropriation.

“The idea can seem intimidating, but we can each come together to take accountability and learn,” Shropshire said. “These crucial conversations are a vital component to the empowerment and uplifting of longsuffering, exploited, overlooked communities left behind by systemic racism.”

Shropshire is the daughter of Jamie and the late John Shropshire, former Clarion University dean of admissions and Clarion County Commissioner.

In addition to Shropshire’s keynote address, the webinar will include remarks from Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, president of Clarion University, and Rogers Laugand, director of multicultural affairs and diversity education at Clarion University. Student Jada Smith, a senior psychology major, will provide a special message. Jake Jacobson, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, will lead opening and closing prayers.

A food drive will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Clarion County Park gazebo. Community members are invited to bring nonperishable food donations to the gazebo and enjoy complimentary hot beverages and pastries to go.

“Traditionally, those attending the breakfast have brought nonperishable food donations for the community food pantry,” Salsgiver said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased need for such donations, so we organized the outside food drive to help meet that need. We thank Eat’n Park, Clark’s Donuts, Walmart and Clarion Chamber of Business and Industry for providing refreshments for the drive.”

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