Two for the Price of One

Students receive aid from TAASU and Herman Johnson Scholarship Fund

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the inclusion of the Herman Johnson African American Scholarship in the program, the 23rd Annual TAASU Freedom Breakfast will highlight two of the many ways to aid University of Missouri-Kansas City students.

The African American Student Union (TAASU), formed in 1969, will hold its breakfast at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23 in Pierson Auditorium, Atterbury Student Success Center, 5000 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo.

Along with its mission to strengthen the communication between its diverse student population and the campus community, the TAASU breakfast provides an opportunity for students to showcase their talents and provides funding for students to attend a leadership conference.

Two UMKC students will perform at the event – junior Olajuwon Davis will perform “Forty Corners,” a one-man play; and sophomore Kelsey Major will sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The featured performer, Rudy Currence, is a singer-songwriter, musician and producer.

“Most of our heroes and difference-makers are not the most well-known, they are right here surrounding us,” said Meosha Smith-Russell, TAASU Education Chair and Freedom Breakfast Chair. “From attending the breakfast, I want people to take heed to those individuals and be inspired by them to hopefully make a change in their own lives.”

In addition to the performances, a presentation will be made about Herman and Dorothy Johnson and their dedication and contributions to UMKC and its students.

The Johnsons were actively involved at UMKC for many years. The Johnson Scholarship, established in 1987, was the first scholarship created to increase college opportunities for African American UMKC students. The Herman and Dorothy Johnson Residence Hall, which opened in 2009, was named in the couple’s honor for their commitment to the university.

“The Freedom Breakfast is one of the unique opportunities for the entire campus community – students, staff, faculty and Kansas City community – to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and the progress this country and UMKC have made since the establishment of TAASU,” said Keichanda Dees-Burnett, assistant director, Multicultural Student Affairs.

Burnett concluded by sharing a significant outcome of the fundraiser – proceeds will help support the Johnson Scholarship Fund and allow approximately 25 students to attend the Big XII Leadership Conference for Black Student Unions.

To register for the 23rd Annual TAASU Freedom Breakfast, visit the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs registration. Tickets are $50 each, or $350 for a table of eight.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You also can find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.



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