A future teacher has been awarded the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. & Fannie Lou Hamer Scholarship, a partnership between Fresno Pacific University and the West Fresno Ministerial Alliance.

Charday Gray has already begun work on her multiple-subjects teacher credential at FPU. Gray grew up in Fresno, graduating from Washington Union High School in 2003 and earning a B.A. in communication from Fresno State University in 2009. She attends Witness of Jesus Christ Church, 2519 S. Elm St., Fresno, where she is involved in activities including vacation Bible school.

Now in its second year, the King & Hamer Scholarship targets African American students, who are underrepresented in higher education in general, and Christian higher education in particular. The scholarship is also designed to raise awareness of Fresno Pacific within the African American community by sending a message that Christian higher education is affordable and accessible.

The scholarships is named for civil right leaders Martin Luther King, Jr., and Fannie Lou Hamer. Kingwas a pastor, activist and Nobel Peace Prize-winner who used civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs. Hamer was an American voting-rights activist instrumental in organizing Mississippi Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She is known for saying, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Rev. Karen D. Crozier, Ph.D., assistant professor of practical theology and director of faculty development—diversity (peace and justice) at FPU, mentors scholarship recipients, who serve in a West Fresno congregation or non-profit. WFMA is comprised of Fresno churches and faith- and community-based organizations representing more than 5,000 parishioners. The alliance serves the needs of the West Fresno community and the Fresno metropolitan area through spiritual revitalization and Christian development. (More at weservefresno.org)

            To be eligible for the King & Hamer Scholarship, students must:

  • Be part of a church or organization that is, or is in the process of becoming, a member of WFMA

  • Meet all regular admission requirements and follow all admission processes for the traditional undergraduate, degree completion or graduate program in which they wish to enroll

  • Be admitted to FPU

  • Be born in the United States and be of black, African American or African descent

  • Be willing to serve at least five hours a week in a ministry, organization or project in West Fresno that promotes peace and justice