The 26th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner will be convened Friday, January 17 at 6 pm. This, the largest celebration of Dr. King’s birthday in Anne Arundel County, will be held at La Fountaine Bleue in Glen Burnie. Shirley Sherrod, civil rights activist, will be the keynote speaker. Those to be honored for their actions that help keep the legacy of Dr. King alive include; Senator Barbara Mikulski, Gerald Stansbury of the Maryland NAACP, Larry White Sr., Marc L. Apter, Dr. Oscar Barton Jr., Antonio Downing, Sylvia Rogers Greene, Kathy Koch, Julie C. Snyder and the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County. Tickets and additional information at 410-760-4115 or www.mlkmd.org.
The MLK Jr. Awards Dinner is presented by the Annapolis based Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, Inc. at La Fontaine Bleue, 7514 Richie Highway, Glen Burnie. This year’s dinner tickets are $60 ($65 after January 14th). VIP tickets are $100 including premium seating and a private reception before the dinner with hors d’oeuvres and open bar. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 410-760-4115; by mail to MLK Jr. Committee, PO Box 371, Annapolis MD 21404; or on-line at www.mlkmd.org.
Sherrod is best known as the African American fired in 2010 by the Obama administration for making racist remarks about a white farmer. A white right wing blogger edited a video of the remarks to create that false impression. Shortly after being fired from her position as the Georgia USDA State Director of Rural Development she was cleared by the administration and President Obama apologized to her. She chose not to return to Federal service. She has written a book about her experiences (The Courage to Hope: How I Stood Up to the Politics of Fear) that she will sign at the dinner.
Her father was killed by a white man in Georgia when she was 17 but no charges were ever lodged. A cross was burned in their yard shortly thereafter. The death of her father fostered her lifelong commitment to fight for the civil rights of poor and minority farmers.
She is current a leader of the Southwest Georgia Project, an organization she helped start years ago. They work with primarily female farmers, trying to get more women involved in agriculture, marketing vegetables to local school systems.
In 2011, under the leadership of Sherrod and her husband, New Communities, an agricultural cooperative modeled after the Israeli Kibbutz concept, bought a large Georgia farm. They are establishing an agricultural training center, as well as a program that
In 1988, then Alderman Carl O. Snowden founded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner in Anne Arundel County. The dinner is designed to honor the legacy of Dr. King by honoring those who through their deeds, words and actions have helped to keep his legacy alive. This years honorees are from Annapolis, Edgewater, Glen Burnie, Laurel, Severn and Baltimore:
Senator Barbara A. Mikulski
Senator Barbara Mikulski is the recipient of the Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award. As a former social worker and now as a United States Senator, Senator Mikulski has fought for equal opportunity and equal justice to ensure everyone has access to the American dream. Serving as a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), she has worked hard to ensure that all students have access to quality, affordable education – a critical rung on America’s opportunity ladder. Since growing up in the Highlandtown neighborhood of East Baltimore, Senator Mikulski has practiced her values of hard work, neighbor helping neighbor and heartfelt patriotism. She has been a staunch advocate to establish a Harriet Tubman National Park on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and in 2013 joined Congress in honoring the victims of the Birmingham 16th Street Baptist Church bombing with a Congressional Gold Medal. She has strongly supported the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial located at the Anne Arundel Community College as well as the monument to Dr. King on the National Mall.
Gerald Stansbury, of Annapolis, is president of the Maryland State Conference of branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) He is the recipient of the Maryland Citizen’s Health Initiative’ Courageous Leadership Award. He is being awarded this prestigious award for his successful efforts at having the Maryland General Assembly to adopt three major pieces of legislation: the Marriage Equality Act( same sex marriage), Repeal of Maryland’s Death Penalty and the Dream Act (which allows Latinos and others the right to an education).
Larry White Sr.
Larry White, Sr.,of Glen Burnie, is being awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Keepers Award for his efforts to assist youth in learning their history. White has established an annual Black History Program, which is designed to educate African American youth about their history and culture. He has youth perform as prominent African Americans in plays that allow both the audience and those performing to learn about the leaders that are portrayed. Performers have played many roles including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Thurgood Marshall and Sojourner Truth.
Marc L. Apter
Marc L. Apter, from Annapolis, is President of Image Power-Marketing and Public Relations. He is being awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award for his pro bono PR campaign in support of the nation’s first Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial in Annapolis. Apter’s involvement in this project was preceded by his work as PR director for the 20th and 30th Anniversary March’s that commemorated the 1963 March on Washington. He also created the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and operated a series of race relations study circles that won awards from the International Association of Business Communicators. He is a member of the board of directors of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee, which is based in Annapolis, Maryland.
Dr. Oscar Barton Jr.
Professor Oscar Barton, Jr.,of Laurel, is a full-time tenured professor in electrical and mechanical science at the United States Naval Academy . Professor Barton is only the third African American to be a full-time professor in the 168 year history of the United States Naval Academy. He is currently residing with is wife in Laurel, Maryland and was selected to receive the Dr. Marti Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award because of his academic achievements at this institution. These achievements underscore the principles for which Dr. King was noted.
Antonio Downing, of Laurel, is being awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award for his contributions to the Anne Arundel County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Mr. Downing developed for the NAACP a webpage that allows its members and the community to be aware of issues impacting the community. In addition, he serves on the executive committee of the Anne Arundel County NAACP.
Sylvia Rogers Greene
Sylvia Rogers Greene, of Severn, is being awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award for her outstanding contribution to the Anne Arundel County chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. She serves as the treasurer for that organization. She has been instrumental in providing “Health Fairs” that educate the community on the Affordable Health Care Act, President Obama’s signature achievement. She has assisted the chapter with a program called “Money Matters” to help give youth and others financial literacy. Also, she is a life member of the NAACP and is active in her sorority.
Kathy Koch, of Annapolis, is the recipient of the Anne Arundel County Chapter of Peace Action’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Peace Maker Award. She had been instrumental in leading the effort to provide affordable housing for low-income citizens of Anne Arundel County. Through her creative efforts, Arundel Community Development Services has become one of the most effective local programs. During the administration of former County Executive Janet S. Owen, Ms. Koch spearheaded the successful $27 million dollar renovation of the Wiley H. Bates High School. This school was once the only high school in the county that African Americans were able to attend. Under Ms. Koch’s leadership the school was transformed into senior housing, a boys and girls club and the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center.
Julie C. Snyder
Julie C. Snyder, of Edgewater, is the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We Share the Dream Award, which is given by the Severn Savings Bank annually to a corporate leader or entity that has demonstrated its commitment to human rights. Mrs. Snyder is being given this award for her outstanding leadership as a staff member at the Community Action Agency. Under Mrs. Snyder’s leadership the Community Action Agency has raised its profile in the community and has become the leading anti-poverty agency in Anne Arundel County.
Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County
The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County is being awarded the YWCA’s Coretta Scott King Award. This award is presented annually to an organization that reflects the values of the late Coretta Scott King by making a major contribution to the community. The Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County has made numerous philanthropy grants to organizations in the county. It is the seventh organization to be honored with this award since its inception in 2008.
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 rights has helped keep Dr. King’s legacy alive. The proceeds from this years dinner is being used to pay off the debt incurred by building the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial.
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, MD (just south of Annapolis). Most recently, in 2013, the nations first Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial was dedicated on August 28th (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 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, visit www.mlkmd.org, or Facebook sites, www.facebook.com/FootSoldiersMemorial or www.facebook.com/mlkmd