• John McGary, Woodford Sun Staff

MLK speaker: “We’re not done yet”


The guest speaker for Monday’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast at First Christian Church said her message will focus on the theme, “We’re not done yet.”

Dr. Sara Elaine Farris, a Winchester native, has been a professional educator for 32 years, including teaching stints in elementary and high school and jobs as principal and superintendent of school districts in Shelby and Clark counties. When she was named Shelby County superintendent in 2004, she became the first African-American to hold that post in Kentucky. Farris also served as deputy commissioner for the Kentucky Department of Education and, in 2008, was selected by the Kentucky Board of Education to serve as the state’s interim Commissioner of Education.

Farris said she’s attended many MLK Breakfasts and spoken at several of them and always “tries to say something to a community to kind of challenge them to do something different.”

She said she’ll trace the history of King’s work and the civil rights movement of that era, including landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings against segregation in public transportation and public schools. She’ll also discuss the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and that year’s attempted march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., which became known as Bloody Sunday.

“And then I kind of talk about how we’ve kind of gone back, with the hate groups and the exclusion of people, rather than the inclusion of people. You know – wanting to build walls, and pushing people out of America. The name-calling and all that. We still don’t have equal pay for men and women, and so I’m kind of talking about, saying, ‘We’re not done yet,’” Farris said.

Though she retired from Kentucky’s public school system, Farris is still active in education. Her biography states that she is CEO of 4.0 Education Consulting and Advocacy Services and worked part-time as an education policy advisor for the Legislative Research Commission from 2014 to 2016.

Farris said she’ll discuss not only the rise of hate groups in America but more positive developments like the “Me Too” movement.

“So, I’m kind of bringing it up to today and saying, ‘We’re not done yet,’ because people still do not feel like we’re all created equal and (are) treated equally,” Farris said.

Farris said she and her husband, a retired pastor, have several ties to Woodford County, among them their friendship with the Rev. Floyd Green, pastor of First Baptist Church, and his family.

Her biography includes a favorite quote: “Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” Her favorite scripture is, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Farris said she hopes Monday’s breakfast, which begins at 8:45 a.m. (doors open at the First Christian Church, at 160 Lexington Street, at 8:30 a.m.), attracts people who’ll be attending the event for the first time.

“I think that we’re at a time in our communities and in America where we’re going to get more done together than we’re going to get done apart,” she said.

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