TV's Judge Mathis to speak at 2012 King celebration

Television personality and Eastern Michigan University graduate Judge Greg Mathis of the "Judge Mathis" show will speak at the 2012 Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14 in the Harold Sheffer Music Hall, Potter Center at Jackson Community College. He will share his inspiring personal story, "From Jail to Judge: A Story of Triumph" at the event, In addition, JCC will honor Woodrow Wilson Jr., retired JCC professor, as the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Service Award recipient. Wilson worked at JCC for nearly 40 years, in positions including counselor and instructor, and served as a guide and example to many. He has been actively involved in his local community, serving on several boards and committees. Lee Hampton, director of multicultural relations at JCC, said Wilson was selected because of his significant contributions to JCC over the years. "He has been responsible for helping more students of color enroll and be retained at Jackson Community College than any other individual," Hampton said. "He also served as a mentor to many young professionals at JCC, especially those of color. We felt it was fitting to take this opportunity, after his retirement this year, to bestow this honor upon him for 40 years of faithful service." Judge Mathis is a national figure known for his advocacy campaigns for equal justice. He will share his own story about how he overcame his troubled youth and the challenges of being incarcerated to fulfill a wish to his mother to change his path. A judge ordered him to complete a GED and educate himself, which he did, then continued on to college where he earned a bachelor's degree from EMU. After graduation in 1983, he joined a Detroit City Councilman's staff while he attended the University of Detroit's School of Law. In 1995, he was elected as superior court judge for Michigan's 36th District. His nationally syndicated television program has been on the air for more than 10 years. Mathis has worked as an advocate for equal justice with the Rev. Jesse Jackson's PUSH Excel, and also serves on the national board of the NAACP and the Morehouse School of Medicine. In his efforts to reach out to youth and ex-offenders both in and outside of the courtroom, Judge Mathis opened a community center in his hometown of Detroit. He has assisted thousands of youth with his non-profit agency Young Adults Asserting Themselves (Y.A.A.T.), an agency that provides career, business start-up and job opportunities, as well as job training and college enrollment assistance. In 2010 he launched a Prisoner Initiative entitled PEER standing for Prisoner Empowerment Education and Respect. Through the initiative, Judge Mathis visits jails and prisons throughout the country to encourage inmates to change their lives. Tickets are $20 main floor and $15 balcony for adults, and $15 for students. Call 517-796-8600 for more information. Published: Thu, Jan 12, 2012