31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Dinner

 Ten Local Civil and Human Rights Activists to be Honored Naval Academy Gospel Choir to Perform World Premier of MLK Jr. Film

(Annapolis, Md., Dec. 26, 2018)—The 31st Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Reception and Dinner will be held Friday, Jan. 18, at 6 p.m. The largest celebration of Dr. King’s birthday in Anne Arundel County will be held at La Fountaine Bleue in Glen Burnie. A highlight of the program will be the world premiere of the Martin Luther King Jr. documentary film The Dream Revisited, Civil Rights in Perspective, directed by Charles and May Love. “I watched this beautiful film and was deeply moved by it,” said Dr. William Ferris, former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, D.C. “It is a powerful, timely reminder of how race continues to define our lives,” he said. The Dream Revisited that will be screened at the dinner is a seven-minute portion of the documentary, which pays tribute to King and discusses the struggle for civil rights that still exists to this day. Also addressing the dinner will be local and state political leaders. The Naval Academy Gospel Choir will also perform. Among the 10 honorees acknowledged at the event are: M. Eve Hurwitz, of Annapolis, winner of the Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award, who helped organize the Women’s March; Alderman Marc Rodriguez, of Annapolis, winner of the Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award, who made history in 2017 as the first Latino elected official in the City of Annapolis; and Naval Academy senior Midshipman First Class Aaron J. Lewis, of Fort Washington, winner of the Drum Major Award, for his outstanding contributions to the community. General admission tickets for the dinner are $65 before Jan. 14 and $70 afterward, VIP tickets are $100, and all tickets may be purchased online at www.MLKJrMD.org, by phone at 410.760.4115 or 301-538-6353; or by mail to MLK Jr. Committee, PO Box 371, Annapolis, Md. 21404. The VIP reception begins at 5 p.m.

Addressing the dinner and reception will be Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, and Congressman Anthony Brown. Representing Governor Larry Hogan with remarks will be Steven McAdams. Additional speakers will be St. John’s College president Panayotis Kanelos and Captain Robert Dews of the United States Naval Academy.

​The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Dinner in Anne Arundel County was founded in 1988 by then Alderman Carl Snowden. Designed to pay homage to the memory of Dr. King, the dinner honors those whose deeds, words, and actions have helped keep his legacy alive. The banquet is a reflection on the best that Anne Arundel County has to offer.

Charles and Mary Love are award-winning filmmakers and partners in Imagyn, Inc. (imagyn.com), a media company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Their documentary films have featured destinations around the world, as well as social and environmental issues close to home. Their movies have been honored with screenings in the 9th Annual Iran Film Festival in San Francisco in 2016, and in the 2018 International Travel Film Festival in Limassol, Cypress. More recently, one of their movies was recognized as a winner in the 2018 Best Film Shorts Competition. The duo’s professional associations include the American Society of Media Photographers and the Society of American Travel writers.

Other winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., awards who will be recognized for their dedication to the ideals of Dr. King include: Wandra Ashley-Williams, of Baltimore, winner of the Courageous Leadership Award; George “Lassie” Belt, of Annapolis, winner of the Peace Maker Award; Patricia Cole, of Bel Air, winner of the Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award; Najiba Hlemi, of Annapolis, winner of the We Share the Dream Award; Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, of Baltimore County, winner of the Dream Keepers Award; Congressman John P. Sarbanes, of Baltimore, winner of the Dream Keepers Award; and Dr. Vivian Gist Spencer, of Annapolis, winner of the Drum Major Award.

The awards dinner is presented by the Annapolis-based Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, Inc.at La Fontaine Bleue, 7514 Richie Highway, Glen Burnie. Dinner tickets are $65 ($70 after January 14). The VIP reception begins at 5 p.m. and includes premium seating and a private reception before the dinner with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Proceeds from the event will be used to underwrite the annual Fannie Lou Hamer Reception and the annual Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Dinner to insure their continued existence in the future honoring Dr. King.

Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award
M. Eve Hurwitz is the recipient of the Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award. Hurwitz, who helped organize the Women’s March and is the driving force behind March On Maryland, has worked with the Caucus of African-American Leaders and other progressive groups. She has worked with Delegate-elect Sandy Bartlett, Alderwoman Elly Tierney, Judge Claudia Barber, Reverend Marguerite Morris, and many other inspiring women to empower and improve the Anne Arundel community. Hurwitz recently joined forces with progressive organizations in a successful suit against the State of Maryland. Working with the ACLU’s Debbie Jeon and Amy Cruice, she and the other plaintiffs won monetary damages. Hurwitz has supported numerous causes and community members, including Judge Vickie Gipson, County Executive Steuart Pittman, Councilwoman Lisa Brannigan Rodvien, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, Delegate-elect Heather Bagnall, and other progressive candidates.

Drum Major Award
Midshipman First Class Aaron J. Lewis is the recipient of the Drum Major Award. Lewis is active in community outreach efforts, including Harvest for the Hungry, a midshipmen-run food drive to donate food to the Anne Arundel County for Bank, and Mids for Kids, a mentoring program for youth in the Annapolis community. He also volunteers with the Asbury United Methodist Church Food Pantry Program. Lewis is an active member of the Midshipman Black Studies Club and serves as its president.

Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award
Alderman Marc Rodriguez is the recipient of the Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award. The first Latino elected official in the City of Annapolis, the Ward 5 Democrat was elected in a hotly contested race. Rodriguez grew up in Mexico with his American mother and Mexican father. After moving to the United States, Rodriguez attended the Key School and received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan. He is currently enrolled at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law.

Courageous Leadership Award
National NAACP Board Member, Wandra Ashley-Williams is the recipient of the Courageous Leadership Award. The Louisiana native settled in Anne Arundel County in 2006. She has worked for Merrill Lynch Corporate Real Estate Finance and Turner Construction Company, and has served on several boards and commissions, including as executive director of the St. John Baptist Church Mentoring Program. Ashley-Williams is currently the president of WLA Associates, LLC, a consulting company specializing in business management, event planning, lobbying, and referral partnerships.

In 2013, Ashley-Williams was appointed by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to serve on the Maryland Commission for Women. She is a board member for the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women and serves on the board of directors for the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative. Currently, Ashley-Williams serves as a National NAACP Board Member and first vice president of the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches. For her many contributions, Ashley-Williams is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Maryland State Conference NAACP President’s Award. In 2017, at the NAACP 108th National Convention in Baltimore, Ashley-Williams was awarded the Dr. W. Montague Cobb Award in recognition of her achievement in social and health justice, and health education. She has also received the Johnson and Johnson Community Service Award, the American Heart Association Affiliate Volunteer of the Year, and a Maryland Governor’s Citation, among others.

Peace Maker Award
George Craig “Lassie” Belt is the recipient of the Peace Maker Award. Belt worked with Annapolis-area children at the Stanton Community Center for more than 40 years, counseling young people on the need to resolve conflicts through nonviolence. He is an assistant pastor at the International House of Prayer for All People, located in Harwood, Md. Belt was instrumental in having youth create art, which is now displayed on a state-owned Annapolis building.

Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award
Patricia Cole is the recipient of the Alan Hilliard Legum Civil Rights Award. Cole has a federal service career spanning more than 35 years. After graduating from Morgan State University, she served as a U.S. Army officer in the Military Intelligence Corps, retiring in 2011 as an Army Colonel. Upon her retirement, Cole began a second career as a Department of the Army civilian working as an investigator for the Army Inspector General. An active volunteer and advocate for social and community causes, Cole became a board member of Hosanna School Museum in 2014, and, in 2016, assumed the role as board chairman for the Havre De Grace Colored School Foundation. Her advocacy for social change is exemplified as a life member of the Morgan State Alumni Association and her memberships in the in the Morgan State University Northern Virginia Alumni Chapter, and other professional organizations.

We Share the Dream Award
Najiba Helmi is the recipient of the We Share the Dream Award. Hlemi is a nonprofit executive with a passion for mission-driven organizations. In 2017, she became executive director of Seeds for Success (S4S), an Annapolis nonprofit charity which helps youth in low-income and public housing communities achieve success in school in life. Prior to joining S4S, Hlemi was the executive director of the DMV-region Food Truck Association, where she worked closely with legislatures to lift restrictive vending prohibitions in various jurisdictions, and develop appropriate regulations to help the mobile vending industry grow and thrive. Hlemi’s previous experiences also included serving as director of the National Bar Association and director at the Washington Teachers’ Union.

Dream Keepers Award
Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger is serving his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives for Maryland’s Second District, which includes Anne Arundel County. He is known for working with members from both sides of the aisle to get results for Maryland. Ruppersberger currently serves on the House Appropriations Committee, including the Defense, the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs and the Homeland Security subcommittees. The assignment comes after a committee-record 12 years serving on the House Intelligence Committee, including four years as ranking member. Ruppersberger was the first Democratic freshman ever appointed to the committee. Ruppersberger served on the House Government Reform and House Armed Services Committees.

Ruppersberger has served in public office for more than 30 years. He was elected to the Baltimore County Council in 1985 and 1989. He was elected Baltimore County Executive in 1994 and 1998, and, under his leadership, the county was named one of the nation’s four best-managed counties by Governing Magazine. The county achieved three AAA bond ratings and staggering job growth during his administration. Ruppersberger is an active supporter of the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, serving as Vice Chairman of its Board of Visitors. He also serves on the United States Naval Academy Board of Visitors. A native of Baltimore City, Ruppersberger earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore Law School.

Dream Keepers Award
Congressman John Sarbanes is a recipient of the Dream Keepers Award. He has represented Maryland’s Third Congressional District in the U.S. Congress since 2007, and now serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in addition to the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power. Since 2017, he has chaired the Democracy Reform Task Force, where he fights against special-interest policies in Congress and advances reforms to improve accountability and transparency in government. Sarbanes shares his state’s strong tradition of environmentalism, leading efforts in Congress to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. He is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and continues to oppose efforts to repeal the ACA. Sarbanes has fought to expand higher education opportunities through financial assistance programs like the Pell Grant and has authored laws to help students repay their college loans after they graduate. Before coming to Congress, Sarbanes served for seven years with the Maryland State Department of Education. He practiced law for 18 years, representing hospitals and senior living providers in their mission to deliver high-quality health care to the people of Maryland.

Sarbanes graduated from Princeton University and studied law and politics in Greece on a Fulbright Scholarship. For more than 20 years, he has served as a board member of the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies, which seeks to promote understanding and dialogue among people of different religious faiths.

Drum Major Award
Vivian Gist Spencer is the recipient of the Drum Major Award. A Chicago native, Spenser moved to Maryland in 1980 where she taught at Anne Arundel public schools and colleges. She established a Repertory Company to help students develop acting skills, and was later a founding members and instructor of Anne Arundel Community College’s Summer Bridge Program for African American students. Spenser has served as a member of the Maryland State Arts Council Advisory Board. For 14 years, she was on the Board of Directors of Chrysalis House, a residential substance abuse treatment center for women and their children. In 2004, Spenser joined Zontas of Annapolis, which works to improve the lives of women worldwide. Since 2005, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Northern Arundel Cultural Preservation Society, which chronicles the lives of African Americans in Northern Anne Arundel County. Since 2010, she also served as board member and secretary of the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation, which documents the history of African Americans in Anne Arundel County. Spenser also teaches senior citizens a class in African American history at the O’Malley Senior Center in Odenton, Md.

Spenser’s background in theater led her to performing in Anne Arundel County, the Eastern Shore, and Baltimore, and she ultimately received the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Solo Theater performance in 1994. In 2017, Spenser received the Dr. Thelma Daley Pearl Award by the North Arundel County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Spenser received her Ph.D. in English and literature in 2000.

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 Dinner 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. Most recently, in August 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.( www.facebook.com/FootSoldiersMemorial ). The $50,000 memorial is located in Annapolis’s Whitmore Park on the corner of Clay and Calvert Streets. The names of over 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 further information write MLK Jr. Committee, PO Box 371, Annapolis MD 21404, call 443-871-5656, www.MLKJrMD.org or Facebook site www.facebook.com/mlkm.

 

Naval Academy Gospel Choir

MLK Play 2018

I Have A Dream” Broadway Musical On Life of Dr. King Saturday, Jan 13 at St. Johns College, 7 P.M.
Performed by Broadway Stars and Local Community Theatre Actors
New York Times “A pageant-like musical drama”

(Annapolis, Md., December 15, 2017) -The Broadway musical, I Have a Dream, first debuted in 1976 with Billy Dee William playing Dr. King. The play portrays the life of Dr. King and important moments of the civil rights movement through song and dance. Written by Josh Greenfield and directed by veteran actor Herman LeVern Jones of TheatreSouth, the production has toured internationally. It includes many gospel songs from the Civil Rights Movement, including We Shall Overcome and Free at Last. Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks praised the show when they saw it in the 1980s. Order tickets at www.mlkjrmd.org. The two-act musical begins at 7:00 pm Saturday, January 13 at the Key Auditorium of St. Johns College, 60 College Avenue, Annapolis. For more information, call 301-904-3690. Saturday-night theater tickets are $35 for the general public and $20 for students (with ID) and seniors (over 65).

I Have a Dream is a gospel musical on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that chronicles the major events of the Civil Rights Movement, giving insight into Dr. King’s love of his family, his sense of humor, and the incredible sacrifices he and others made in the fight for racial equality.

The New York Times said, “’I Have a Dream” weaves the texts of Dr. King’s speeches, sermons, and other writings along with 28 musical numbers into a pageant-like musical drama recounting his life and times, beginning with the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycotts and ending with his assassination in Memphis in 1968, at the age of 39.

The performance will feature a cast of Broadway stars and local community actors, including Broadway actor Jahi Kearse as Dr. King.. Community theatre cast members from the Annapolis area include Marvin “Mack” Jones, Dan Burkarth, Jamela Dillard, Ariana Dillard, Evangela Butler-Sherman, Tracy Neal, Victoria Williams, Mia Williams, Darrick Johnson, Crystal Lynch, Hope Anderson, Cecile Jackson, Victor Kakulu, Taylor Chunn, Carolyn Chunn, Katherine Manchester, and Roslyn Dyer.

One of the stars of the show, Keith McCary performed in the film, Poetic Justice, playing the role of Cuz’n Pete alongside Tupac Shakur, Janet Jackson, and Maya Angelou. Mack Jones is a local singer, arranger, and actor who recently performed with influential Gospel artists including Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, and Marvin Winans.

Other professional cast members include Dwayne Stephenson, Samantha Davis, Jacovia Farrington, Joshua Ynirio, Porsha Estime, Keith McCary, Anton IIya, Quillian Minot, Patricia Carby, Davern Frasier, and Music Director Jason Sweeting.

The Director, Herman LeVern Jones founded TheatreSouth in 2007 in Atlanta, Ga. Its mission is to educate, enlighten, strengthen, and enhance local talents through theatre arts. TheatreSouth has formed a special partnership with the Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee of Anne Arundel County based on the committee’s community involvement and leadership.

Jones is a 44-year veteran of African American Theatre. In 1974, while still in college, he founded the LaVerne Players, Inc. in Raleigh, N.C. During the company’s tenure, he produced, directed, and performed in more than 200 productions. He’s a board member of the New Federal Theatre in New York City and has served on the Ohio Arts Council, the Massachusetts Cultural Arts Council, and as a panelist on the South Carolina Arts Council for their theatre division. Jones has worked with Maya Angela, Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Allen, August Wilson, Lloyd Richards, and Ruby Dee.

Carl Snowden, founder, and director of the MLK Jr. Committee is an Annapolis Civil Rights leader who spearheaded a successful campaign to build the first Coretta Scott King Memorial Garden, the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Maryland and in 2013 erected the Foot Soldiers Civil Rights Memorial in Annapolis to honor the 250,000 who risked their lives to attend the 1963 “I Have a Dream” March on Washington. This show will help pay off the debt incurred to build the Foot Soldiers Memorial.

30th Annual Dr. MLK Jr. Awards Dinner

Ten Local Civil and Human Rights Activists to be Honored Including a “Foot Soldier” of Civil Rights Movement 
and Local Community Leader For Harbour House

(Annapolis, Md., December 15, 2017) – The milestone 30th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Dinner will be held Friday, Jan. 12, at 5 p.m. The largest celebration of Dr. King’s birthday in Anne Arundel County will be held at La Fountaine Bleue, 7514 Richie Highway, Glen Burnie. The keynote will be a performance of highlights from the Broadway musical, I Have a Dream, written by Josh Greenfield and directed by veteran actor Herman LeVern Jones of TheatreSouth. The Naval Academy Gospel Choir will performin the Friday show. A full performance of the musical, performed by Broadway stars and community actors, will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium at St. John’s College in Annapolis. I Have a Dream is a gospel musical on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that chronicles the major events of the Civil Rights Movement, giving insight into Dr. King’s love of his family, his sense of humor, and the incredible sacrifices he and others made in the fight for racial equality. Among the 10 honorees acknowledged at the event are: Naval Academy Capt. Robert Dews, Jr., for his mentorship to at-risk children in the Annapolis area; Andre Atkins, for his efforts in decreasing violence in Annapolis’ Harbor House area; Phil Hunter for his dedication to the Civil Rights movement including the historic 1965 march in Alabama; Earl “Tom” Schubert, for his efforts conceiving and building the Afrocentric-curriculum-based Sojourner-Douglass College in Edgewater, Md.; and J.T. “Kim” Sharps, for his dedication to the Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee. The winner of the 2018 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dream Keeper’s Award will be announced at the dinner. Tickets for the dinner are $65-100, and may be purchased online at www.mlkjrmd.org, by phone at 410.760.4115; or by mail to MLK Jr. Committee, PO Box 371, Annapolis, Md. 21404. For more information, call 301-538-6353. Saturday-night theater tickets are $35 for general public and $20 for students and seniors. For ticket information, call 301.904.3690.

​The Broadway musical, I Have a Dream, first debuted in 1976 with Billy Dee William playing Dr. King. The play portrays the life of Dr. King and important moments of the civil rights movement through song and dance. The production, which has toured internationally, includes a compilation gospel songs from the Civil Rights Movement, including the famous songs We Shall Overcome and Free at Last. Coretta Scott King and Rosa Parks praised the show when they saw it in the 1980’s.

The Saturday performance of I Have a Dream will feature a cast of Broadway stars and local community actors, including Broadway actor Jahi Kearse as Dr. King. Other professional cast members include Dwayne Stephenson, Samantha Davis, Jacovia Farrington, Joshua Ynirio, Porsha Estime, Keith McCary, Anton IIya, Quillian Minot, Patricia Carby, Davern Frasier and Music Director Jason Sweeting. Community theatre cast members from the Annapolis area include Marvin “Mack” Jones, Dan Burkarth, Jamela Dillard, Ariana Dillard, Evangela Butler-Sherman, Tracy Neal, Victoria Williams, Mia Williams, Darrick Johnson, Crystal Lynch, Hope Anderson, Cecile Jackson, Victor Kakulu, Taylor Chunn, Carolyn Chunn, Katherine Manchester, and Roslyn Dyer.

Keith McCary performed in the film, Poetic Justice, playing the role of Cuz’n Pete alongside Tupac Shakur, Janet Jackson, and Maya Angelou. Mack Jones is a local singer, arranger, and actor who recently performed with influential Gospel artists such as Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, and Marvin Winans.

Herman LeVern Jones is a 44-year veteran of African American Theatre. In 1974, while still in college, he founded the LaVerne Players, Inc. in Raleigh, N.C. During the company’s tenure, he produced, directed, and performed in more than 200 productions. He’s a board member of the New Federal Theatre in New York City, and has served on the Ohio Arts Council, the Massachusetts Cultural Arts Council, and as a panelist on the South Carolina Arts Council for their theatre division. Jones has worked with Maya Angela, Oprah Winfrey, James Earl Jones, Denzel Washington, Samuel L. Jackson, Debbie Allen, August Wilson, Lloyd Richards, and Ruby Dee.

Jones taught at several universities as adjunct professor and professor, and also lectured at several seminars for performing arts. Some of his educational experiences included teaching at his alma mater the University of North Carolina, the University of Massachusetts, University of Rochester, and Yale University. Jones received his bachelor’s degree in African American Theatre and English from North Carolina State University and his master’s degree in acting from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jones founded TheatreSouth (TSA) in 2007 in Atlanta, Ga. Its mission is to educate, enlighten, strengthen, and enhance local talents through theatre arts. TSA has formed a special partnership with the Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee of Anne Arundel County based on the committee’s community involvement and leadership.

Carl Snowden, founder and director of the Committee, is an Annapolis Civil Rights leader who spearheaded a successful campaign to build the first Coretta Scott King Memorial Garden, the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Maryland and in 2013 erected the Foot Soldiers Civil Rights Memorial in Annapolis to honor the 250,000 who risked their lives to attend the 1963 “I have a Dream” March on Washington.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Awards Dinner in Anne Arundel County was founded in 1988 by then Alderman Carl Snowden. Designed to pay homage to the memory of Dr. King, the dinner honors those whose deeds, words, and actions have helped keep his legacy alive. The banquet is a reflection on the best that Anne Arundel County has to offer.

Other winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., awards who will be recognized for their dedication to the ideals of Dr. King include: Reverend Stephen A. Tillett; Dr. Andree Mountain; Janice Hayes-Williams; and Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk.

The awards dinner is presented by the Annapolis-based Martin Luther King, Jr., Committee, Inc. at La Fontaine Bleue, 7514 Richie Highway, Glen Burnie. Dinner tickets are $65. VIP tickets are $100 and include premium seating and a private reception before the dinner with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar.

 

33rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Program

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.
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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.