First Virtual MLK Jr. Awards Program on Friday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. Naval Academy Gospel Choir Performs 13 Local Civil and Human Rights Activists to be Honored
(Annapolis, Md., Jan. 1, 2021) — The 33rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Program will air virtually on Friday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. The program will conclude with a viewing of the award-winning short film, “The Dream Revisited: Civil Rights In Perspective,” followed by a virtual discussion of local leaders and activists, “Is Dr. King’s dream being nurtured in Anne Arundel County Today?” The largest celebration of Dr. King’s birthday in Anne Arundel, this will be the first year the event is held virtually via cable and social media. The U.S. Naval Academy Gospel Choir will perform during the program. Among the 13 honorees acknowledged at the event are: Diana Love, of Annapolis, winner of the Peace Maker Award for her monumental efforts to provide food relief during the COVID-19 crisis to over 150,000 Anne Arundel citizens; Speaker Adrienne Jones, of Annapolis, winner of the Courageous Leadership Award for her efforts as Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, the first African-American and the first woman to serve in this position in Maryland; and Delorma “Dee” Goodwyn, of Severn, winner of the Dream Keepers Award for her 30 years volunteering for civil rights and social causes in Anne Arundel County, including her work on the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Board of Directors.
There are several ways to watch the free program: Viewers can access the program at www.mlkjrmd.org, the MLK Committee’s website. Viewers can also access the program via the City of Annapolis Television (local access) on channel 99/100 for all Comcast subscribers and on channel 34 for all Verizon subscribers. For Anne Arundel County cable networks, viewers can access the program on channel 38 for all Verizon subscribers and channel 98 for all Comcast/Broadstripe subscribers. Contributions to the nonprofit MLK Jr. Committee are welcome at the web site above and by mail to PO Box 371, Annapolis MD 21404.
Addressing the program will be Anne Arundel County Executive and program award recipient Steuart Pittman, who will provide a welcome to this first-ever virtual program. Pittman will be followed by City of Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley; Congressman Anthony Brown, U.S. Representative for Maryland’s 4th District; Judge Vickie Gipson, Orphan’s Court for Anne Arundel County; NAACP’s President Jacqueline Allsup; and Chairwoman Christine Davenport, Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee.
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Program in Anne Arundel County was founded in 1988 by then Alderman Carl Snowden. Designed to pay homage to the memory of Dr. King, the program honors those whose deeds, words, and actions have helped keep Dr. King’s legacy alive. The program is a reflection on the best that Anne Arundel County has to offer.
Other winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., awards include: Dr. Erin Snell, of Annapolis, winner of the Drum Major Award; Barbara Arnwine, of Annapolis, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award; Daryl Jones, of Severn, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award; Vincent Leggett, of Arundel-on-the-Bay, winner of the Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award; Dee Strum, of Annapolis, winner of the Drum Major Award; Amy Marshall, of Annapolis, winner of the Peace Maker Award; Michael Sears, of Annapolis, winner of the Drum Major Award; Midshipman First Class Madeleine Cooke, of Annapolis, winner of the Drum Major Award; Steuart Pittman, of Annapolis, winner of the Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award; and Walter Vasquez, of Annapolis, winner of the We Share the Dream Award.
Drum Major Award
Dr. Erin Snell is the recipient of the Drum Major Award. Snell has dedicated her career to promoting educational equity and finding solutions to systemic racism that leads to these inequities. She is the executive director of the Annapolis nonprofit Charting Careers, which works to break the cycle of poverty by supporting children and their families through mentoring and college and career preparation. She also serves as co-founder and co-chair for the Collaborative of Nonprofits Serving Children and Youth in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Among other successes, this Collaborative led to the creation of outdoor learning spaces in public housing communities and raised more than $35,000 and provided more than 2,400 students with backpacks and school supplies for e-learning during the pandemic. Most recently, Snell worked on education policy for Maryland and volunteered as a leader focusing on educational equity with Anne Arundel Connecting Together.
Coretta Scott King Award
Barbara Arnwine is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award. She is president and founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition and is internationally renowned for contributions on justice issues, including the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the 2006 reauthorization of provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The Transformative Justice Coalition seeks to be a catalyst for institutional changes for justice and equality in the United States and abroad. The Coalition focuses on several areas, including race equity, voting rights, policing reform, and international human rights, and also hosts “Igniting Change with Barbara Arnwine,” a weekly international talk radio program. Arnwine’s work is not limited to the Coalition: She is also the board vice-chair of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and serves on the board of directors of MomsRising and Independent Sector. Among numerous awards, Arnwine received the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion Award, along with co-honoree Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award.
Coretta Scott King Award
Daryl Jones, Esq.
Attorney Daryl Jones, is a former two-term member of the Anne Arundel County Council. He was the first African-American male and the second African-American to be elected to that body. A resident of Severn, Maryland, he is now serving as chairman of the board of directors for the Transformative Justice Coalition, a national voting rights organization. Under his leadership the TJC has ensured that millions of eligible voters rights are protected. He has been active in organizing, mobilizing and energizing voters in Georgia and as a result of TJC thousands of first-time voters have voted. Georgian participants have increased ten-fold thanks to the work of Daryl Jones. As a result of Mr. Jones leadership, he and the organization are receiving the prestigious Coretta Scott King Award, which is given to an organization and or individual, who have made a significant contribution to civil rights.
Coretta Scott King Award
Vincent Leggett is the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award. Leggett is president and CEO of Leggett Group USA, an Annapolis-based consulting firm. Three decades ago, Leggett founded the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation, which shares the legacy of African American achievements in the maritime industries and advocates for the Bay’s cultural and environmental preservation. The foundation has published two research books, and in 2000, the U.S. Congress and Library of Congress designated the foundation a “Local Legacy Project.” In 2003, the Maryland governor commissioned Leggett as an “Admiral of the Chesapeake” for his work in the conservation and preservation of the Bay. Leggett also has a passion to serve the community: He is a board member of the Chesapeake Legal Alliance and former chair of the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center. Leggett was elected president of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education and served as the CEO of the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County and the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis.
Drum Major Award
Dee Strum is the recipient of the 2021 Drum Major Award. Strum served two terms as the 7th National President of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. where she worked with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and amendments to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Strum also focused the organization’s efforts on increasing the participation of black women in civic affairs, encouraging women to pursue local civic and political leadership roles.
Strum attended Arundel Sr. High school for two years, graduated Howard County’s Atholton Sr. High school, and received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees in community development from the University of Maryland, College Park. Upon graduation in 1977, she was recruited by the Indiana Office of the Governor to establish Indiana’s first statewide housing agency. Strum returned to Annapolis following 35 years of business ownership, having successfully operated as MDStrum Housing Services. She is a nationally recognized expert in housing and community development. In 2005, Strum’s MDStrum Housing Services was named the national disaster recovery contractor for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), providing ground teams to support recovery efforts following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike, and Gustav.
Peace Maker Award
Diana Love is the recipient of the Peace Maker Award. In 2020, Love founded the West Annapolis Pop Up Pantry (WAPP) and worked with community partners to raise more than $100,000 in one month to provide food and aid for COVID-19 crisis response. Amy Marshall is also the recipient of the Peace Maker Award. Marshall supported Diana Love’s efforts with the WAPP by offering her short-term rental property as a storage and distribution site. Love and Marshall’s mission is to support members of the community who’ve lost their income due to COVID-19 and who do not have access to federal aid such as unemployment, stimulus checks, or loans. This pantry has supported more than 50,000 families and 150,000 individuals across nine months and counting. Each weekend, WAPP hosts a food drive that serves roughly 315 families and 1,400 people. Partnering with Center of Help, Annapolis Moms, and West Annapolis Business Affiliation, Love and Marshall have worked nonstop to collect food and funds to help families in need. Together with dozens of local women, as well as community partners, the effort focused on hand-delivering food, diapers, toys and much more to families in need.
Dream Keepers Award
Delorma “Dee” Goodwyn is the recipient of the Dream Keepers Award. Goodwyn has spent nearly 30 years volunteering for civil rights and social causes in Anne Arundel County. For the past decade, Goodwyn has served on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Board of Directors, supporting various programs and fundraising efforts, and also establishing the Fannie Lou Hamer program. Previously, Goodwyn was appointed member of the Annapolis Human Relations Committee, where she promoted fair treatment of city residents. In 2019, she was appointed member of the Anne Arundel County Personnel Board to hear cases and disputes from County employees. As one of the founders of the Caucus of African American Leaders, Goodwyn was responsible for organizing annual holiday bazaars, which were designed to promote local Black businesses. Goodwyn organized the 2020 Women’s History Program, which recognized 100 female leaders in the County. She is active with the Racial Equity in Media Consortium, a group of elected officials, religious leaders, and organizations that promote racial equity in the media.
Drum Major Award
Michael Sears is the director of Leadership Innovation at the Boeing Leadership Innovation
Laboratory, Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy. Sears is a graduate of the Academy and, before graduate school, Sears served as a Marine Officer in an infantry battalion as the unit’s Intelligence Officer, and the sniper and surveillance Platoon Commander. After earning his Naval Aerial Observer wings, Sears served as a Flight Officer in a reconnaissance squadron. Post military service, Sears earned a Juris Doctorate from Stanford University. Sears is also a 30-year veteran of California’s Silicon Valley, where he worked with technology companies, ultimately becoming CEO of a technology company, and founder of a small Internet media company. During that time, Sears was granted and received three U.S. patents as a co-inventor of technology. He spent 10 years as a Palo Alto-based Venture Capitalist and has been a board member in private and public companies, for-profit as well as non-profits. In the last decade, Sears has focused on clean technologies as an investment partner, and on cybersecurity as an independent consultant.
Drum Major Award
Midshipman First Class Madeleine Cooke is the recipient of the Drum Major Award. Originally from Maryland, Cooke and her family ultimately settled in New York City, where Cooke graduated from St. Saviour High School in Brooklyn. During high school, Cooke volunteered at the St. Saviour Church food pantry. She now attends the U.S. Naval Academy, where she consistently meets the Academy’s mental, moral, and physical mission with resolve and grit and has been an exemplary leader. At the Naval Academy, Cooke is the president of the Midshipman Black Studies Club, which works to empower future leaders of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award
Steuart Pittman, Jr., is the recipient of the Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award. Pittman graduated from the University of Chicago and went on to work as a community organizer in Chicago and Des Moines. Once back home in Davidsonville, Pittman coordinated programs for National Low Income Housing Coalition and Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now before starting his own business as a farmer and horse trainer. He is best known in the horse industry for creating the Retired Racehorse Project, an award-winning national nonprofit responsible for transitioning thousands of racehorses into second careers. Pittman is also a director of the Anne Arundel County Soil Conservation District, where he pushed for compliance with erosion and sediment control standards to protect local waterways. Currently, Pittman serves as Anne Arundel County Executive, where he has pledged to engage communities from every sector and practice transparency and data-driven policymaking.
Courageous Leadership Award
Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones is the recipient of the Courageous Leadership Award. She has been a delegate since 1997, originally serving as Speaker Pro Tempore in the Maryland House of Delegates for 16 years. Jones has worked on the House Appropriations Committee and was chair of the Capital Budget and Education and Economic Development Subcommittees. In 2019, she received the Casper R. Taylor Jr. Founder’s Award for her government service, the highest award given to a member of the House of Delegates. Jones has three times been named to the “Top 100 Women in Maryland” by The Daily Record. In 2016, she was selected for Governing Magazine’s Women in Government Leadership Program. Jones also has extensive leadership in Baltimore County: She served for 37 years as the first executive director of the Baltimore County Office of Fair Practices and Community Affairs, as deputy director of the Baltimore County Office of Human Resources, and is the founder of the annual Baltimore County African American Cultural Festival, now in its 21st year.
Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award
Walter Vasquez is the recipient of the Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award. Born and raised in El Salvador, Vasquez later moved to Miami before ultimately settling in Annapolis. There, he opened Sin Fronteras, a Mexican-Latin American restaurant with locations in Annapolis and Glen Burnie. Since his time in Maryland, Vasquez has been an advocate for greater Hispanic and multicultural representation in Annapolis government and economic planning. This month, Vasquez opened Annapolis International Market, an international grocery store which he hopes will help stimulate cultural growth for his shoppers and the community.
The Annapolis-based Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Inc., founded in 1988, hosts two major events each year, the annual Fannie Lou Hamer Reception in October honoring woman of different racial backgrounds who have made contributions to the community, state and nation. The second event is the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Program held in January to honor those local citizens whose leadership in civil and human rights has helped keep Dr. King’s legacy alive.
The MLK Jr. Committee has successfully placed three memorials to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Anne Arundel County, funded by private donations. A bronze statue of King was erected at Anne Arundel Community College in 2006 after the Committee raised more than $250,000. In 2011, the Committee dedicated a plaque and garden tribute to Dr. King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, at Sojourner Douglass College in Edgewater. In 2013, the nation’s first Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial was dedicated on the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” March on Washington. The $50,000 memorial is located in Annapolis’s Whitmore Park on the corner of Clay and Calvert Streets. The names of more than 500 of the 250,000 ordinary citizens who marched in the demonstration and risked the threat of personal harm to underline support for the civil rights leaders who spoke that day are engraved in the monument. For more information, write to MLK Jr. Committee, PO Box 371, Annapolis MD 21404; call 443.871.5656; or visit www.mlkjrmd.org
Photo cutline: The 13 local civil rights and human rights activists that are being honored at the 33rd Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Program in Anne Arundel County are: Dr. Erin Snell, Barbara Arnwine, Daryl Jones, Vincent Leggett, Dee Strum, Diana Love, Amy Marshall, Delorma “Dee” Goodwyn, Michael Sears, Madeleine Cook, Steuart Pittman, Adrienne Jones, and Walter Vazquez.