By Janice K. Neal-Vincent, Ph.D.,
“When Dr. Chad Lawson Cooper attended Connecting the Dots Foundation’s Women History 2023 event, never did I think he was looking at me to consider awarding me the President Biden’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I was so humbled to know that I would even be considered for such an honor. I thank God for the favor He gives people.” That was Dr. Marilyn Johnson-Luckett’s response to Cooper’s selection of her as one of several recipients of the prestigious award.
Johnson-Luckett founded Connecting The Dots Foundation several years ago and serves as CEO. The entrepreneur, historian, philanthropist and community activist supported Cooper’s touring Broadway production, Justice on Trial that packed Jackson State University’s Rose E. McCoy Building last Saturday evening. She admits that she was spellbound by Cooper’s acknowledgement.
Of other honorees, Johnson-Luckett commented: “It gives me great pride to be among great people in Miss. who dedicated their life work to social justice and the betterment of their people. Justice on Trial provided the encouragement needed to persevere. It clearly reminded [those of us who attended] that there is much more work to be done, and it challenges us to pick up the mantle and run with it for the good of community.”
Johnson-Luckett found Justice on Trial to be compelling, convincing, effective and worthwhile. She mentioned that it should be seen by all. “It takes you back to very difficult times in history when slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and violence described the state of Black America. It brought forth truths that were extremely painful but needed to be seen and heard by those who are unaware and those who have forgotten the great struggles of people of color, especially the young generation.”
While looking at the present state of America, the entrepreneur acknowledged that Justice on Trial is the ghost that reminds the country that it needs a balancing of scales because of its instability. From her perspective, social justice hangs on trial in cities all across America. In that regard, she said, “It is my hope that Dr. Chad Lawson Cooper will continue his work, traveling all over the globe to enlighten the young and remind the old that the fight is not nearly over.”
When she was asked about past voices like Harriet Tubman and W.E.B. Du Bois who were among features within the production, Johnson-Luckett explained, “I can’t describe the energy brought forth while speaking with the descendants of Harriet Tubman and W.E. B. Du Boise. I am so thankful that these young black men have educated themselves, and they are ready to carry on the fight.”
Asked about her future plans in her role as “servant to humanity,” the Biden award recipient stated, “We will continue to connect the dots with others because it takes all of us to get the job done. I look forward to continuing the work with Dr. Chad Lawson Cooper and his Justice on Trial entourage.
The mission of Connecting The Dots Foundation is to inspire, empower and connect community service organizations by helping them realize their dreams to accomplish their goals through the development of activities, education and financial support.
Other Biden Lifetime Achievement Award recipients who were awarded at the Justice on Trial Broadway production are Dr. Flonzie Brown Wright (Civil Rights activist, author and educator); U. S. Congressman Bennie Thompson; Harvey Watkins Jr. (legendary gospel artist); Derrick Johnson (CEO and President of the NAACP); The Rev. Dr. Jerry Young (National Baptist Conventions USA. Inc); Alyce G. Clark (Retired State Representative District 69); Bill Washington (political consultant, tax advisor, community activist); Lannie Spann-McBride (social justice activist and musical genius); and Hezekiah Watkins (political activist).