1. Home
  2. The Y Mission
  3. The Y Mission - News and Press
  4. YMCA of Greater Charlotte Celebrates 30th Year of MLK Holiday Celebration with Speaker Dr. Tonya Matthews

News and Press

YMCA of Greater Charlotte Celebrates 30th Year of MLK Holiday Celebration with Speaker Dr. Tonya Matthews

More than 1,200 are expected to participate in Charlotte’s largest celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

By Natalie Ramsey

January 04, 2024

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte will welcome an expected 1,200 people to its 30th Annual MLK Holiday Celebration at the Charlotte Convention Center’s Crown Ballroom on Monday, January 15 at 8:00 a.m.


This year’s theme is “The Future of the Dream Fulfilled by Unity and Collaboration,” and will feature keynote speaker Dr. Tonya M. Matthews. Dr. Matthews is president and CEO of the International African American Museum (IAAM) in Charleston, South Carolina, where she has propelled the organization as a prominent platform for authentic storytelling of African American history, challenging institutionalized racism and fostering a path toward unification.


Passionate about life-long learning, Dr. Matthews is a distinguished thought leader at the intersection of social entrepreneurship, institutional equity and education. With a unique background as a poet and engineer, Dr. Matthews has served as associate provost at Wayne State University and president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center. She founded the STEMinista Project, promoting STEM engagement for girls, and STEMinsta Rising, supporting women in STEM. Recognized for her dedication for community, Dr. Matthews has been named one of Charleston’s Most Influential by Charleston Business Magazine twice and honored as Trailblazer by Career Mastered Magazine. A published poet and accomplished academic, she holds a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


Proceeds from the MLK Holiday Breakfast provide life-transforming programs for youth at the McCrorey Family YMCA. Founded in 1936 as an African-American YMCA in a segregated nation, the McCrorey Family YMCA provided opportunities for spiritual growth, learning and leadership development for the African American community in Charlotte. 


“We are proud to celebrate 30 years of bringing Charlotteans together to honor Dr. King’s legacy,” says Niambi Goings, executive director of McCrorey Family YMCA. “This year, we look forward to welcoming Dr. Matthews as she shares her thoughts on unifying community to empower the next generation.”


The MLK Holiday Celebration begins at 8:00 a.m. and doors open at 7:15 a.m. Tickets and corporate sponsorships are available through Friday, January 5. Tickets may be purchased on our website. Corporate sponsorships are available by contacting Debbie Smith at 704-716-6513 or debbie.smith@ymcacharlotte.org.


About the YMCA of Greater Charlotte

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte, comprised of 17 membership locations and two overnight camps, nurtures the potential of children and teens, improves our community’s health and well-being, and provides opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Deeply rooted in the community for 150 years, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is a proud recipient of a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. www.ymcacharlotte.org


For More Information:

Natalie Ramsey
Director of PR & Communications