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Commissioner David Shelton to champion equality at APSU’s Betty Joe Wallace Memorial Lecture on March 19

By: Michelle Butts February 16, 2024

On March 19 at 3:30 p.m., David Shelton, Montgomery County commissioner, will present the 2024 Betty Joe Wallace Memorial Lecture titled “Skipping to the Piccolo: Living Life the Hard Way.” The free event is open to the public and will be held at Austin Peay State University’s Morgan University Center, Rooms 303-305.

Montgomery County Commissioner David Shelton

Inspired by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a beloved community, Shelton speaks out on all issues of equality, including those involving systemic racism. He believes all marginalized communities need each other and advocates for women’s rights and civil rights as well as LGBTQ+ equality.

“Our most difficult conversations — sexuality, reproduction and gender — might seem impossible to broach, but they are absolutely essential,” Shelton said. “I grew up needing to pay extra attention just to understand the world around me. I thought I’d need to make it louder. Instead, I found that the truth was best amplified in silence. One heart, one voice, one mind at a time. And all the while, I skipped to the tune of a piccolo in an entirely different band.

As commissioner of District 21 and member of the Jail and Juvenile Committee, Shelton is working to change the way juvenile justice is handled in Montgomery County, advocating for preventive programs, education, counseling and training for all families, and providing services for those few violent or dangerous cases that must be detained. He publishes a monthly newsletter to discuss formal meeting agendas. He serves as airport authority liaison and on the Beer Board, Fair Committee, Delinquent Tax Sales/Release Committee and the Personnel Advisory Committee.

A design consultant for Renewal by Andersen and local business owner, Shelton has won state and national awards for his freelance graphic design work, including Aster gold and silver awards in medical marketing. His community involvement includes service on the Roxy Regional Theatre board of directors, the Clarksville Parking Commission and the Clarksville After Hours Business Board.

Shelton has authored two books. "The Rainbow Kingdom: Christianity & the Homosexual Reconciled," discussing how LGBT Christians can live their life in faith in peace with the Scriptures, was published in 2006 by Lulu Press. His second book, "Unification: Rise of the Thunderblade,” published by Lulu in 2019, is a novel about a hero who must deal with the political fallout of his own existence while a new galactic threat emerges. He is currently working on the next volume in that series.

A reception for Shelton will be held immediately after his presentation.

About Betty Joe Wallace Memorial Lecture

The Betty Joe Wallace Memorial Lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of History and Philosophy and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. A champion of minorities and women’s rights, Professor Betty Joe Wallace pioneered and taught African American history and women’s history courses at Austin Peay for nearly 30 years. She founded both the African American Studies Program and the Women’s Studies Program. In 1989, the faculty honored her service by presenting her with the Distinguished Professor Award. Between 1965 and 2004, Professor Wallace also trained hundreds of history and social studies teachers who served throughout the area.

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