Longtime State College community leaders to be honored with Constitution Day award

Unity Church of Jesus Christ

Harold and Sherren McKenzie of State College will be honored next week with the Madison Award for Civility in the Community, sponsored by Constitution Day Centre Inc. The award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made longtime contributions to civility and community service.

The couple has served as community leaders of Unity Church of Jesus Christ for 46 years, including 45 years in ministry, according to a press release. For more than 40 years, they provided spiritual counseling and assistance to local residents including African American, Latino and other people of color.

Harold McKenzie’s accomplishments include serving on the town and gown Task Force on Policing and Communities of Color and co-founding the Racial Unity Network and Community and Campus in Unity, which Constitution Day Centre Inc. President David Hutchinson called “a model for how other communities can address difficult issues in a way that is both civil and meaningful.”

Constitution Day Centre Inc. wrote in a press release that Sherren McKenzie is “well known for her profound way of connecting with people of different beliefs and backgrounds. She demonstrates great sensitivity to how people are feeling, and assists people who are hurting.”

After 29-year-old Osaze Osagie was fatally shot by a State College police officer during a crisis call in 2019, the McKenzies worked with the Osagie family and local communities. They received the Forum on Black Affairs Humanitarian Service Award.

“For nearly 50 years, as leaders of the Unity Church of Jesus Christ, Harold and Sherren have selflessly dedicated their lives to the welfare of others, not only to the members of their church, but also to the broader community — often during the most challenging of circumstances,” Hutchinson said in a written statement.

2023 Constitution Day will be held from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at Nittany American Legion Post 245, 1950 Pine Hall Road, State College. The McKenzies will be presented the Madison Award for Civility in the Community at 1:15 p.m.

For more information on the event, visit www.constitutiondaycentre.org.