ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, the Office of Human Rights and Equity (OHRE) and the Howard County Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission invite you to join them for multiple events this weekend to honor the life and legacy of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Starting at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 14th, there will be a celebration in the Smith Theatre at Howard Community College’s (HCC) Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, followed by a Day of Service on Monday, January 15th. 

The MLK Celebration and Day of Service promotes unity, understanding and offers meaningful opportunities for our residents to learn about Dr. King and emulate his commitment to community stewardship while promoting equality and justice. This celebration affords us the opportunity to acknowledge and thank our students and community leaders serving, protecting, and advocating for all of us here in Howard County. Together, we can uplift the legacy of Dr. King and ensure that Howard County is the best place to live, work, play, grow, and thrive for all.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

This Sunday’s family-friendly, multi-cultural event will include musical performances, dramatic presentations, a keynote address by HCC graduate and student of Psychology and Political Science at The Johns Hopkins University Israah Ansari and recognition of the 2024 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream” Award recipients and student essay, oratory and poster contest winners. The event will begin at 2:00 p.m. with a reception, followed by an awards ceremony at 3:00 p.m. To reserve your ticket to take part in this year’s celebration, click HERE.

This celebration is a powerful reminder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s extraordinary courage and resilience. Each year, our office looks forward to honoring students, organizations and community members who keep King’s mission at the forefront. The Day of Service inspires positive change that transcends barriers and brings us closer to realizing Dr. King’s dream of a just and harmonious society.

Yolanda F. Sonnier
Administrator, Office of Human Rights and Equity

“Living the Dream” Award and Student Essay, Oratory and Poster Contests Winners:

The “Living the Dream” Award honors individuals and organizations who exemplify the work and legacy of Dr. King. This year’s honorees are Bruce Leuthold and the Luminus Network for New Americans, recognized for their devotion to the community.

For the student essay, oratory and poster contests, students were asked to reflect upon Dr. King’s statement: “Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.” For the essay contest, middle and high school students must discuss what makes your community great and how have you contributed towards its wellbeing. Students with disabilities may submit their entry using media and/or other modes of audio-visual presentation. For the oratory contest, middle and high school students must share a story about a time where they fought for humanity or equal rights, how it made them feel and why they did it. For the poster contest, elementary, middle and high school students created an original piece of artwork using a medium of their choosing that shows how they can make Howard County more welcoming to all people. The contest winners are:

Essay Contest – High School

  • 1st Place: Sid Bajaj, 11th Grade, Glenelg Country School
  • 2nd Place: Danielle Fonmedig, 12th Grade, Long Reach High School
  • 3rd Place: Kallie Payne, 10th Grade, Reservoir High School

Essay Contest – Middle School

  • 1st Place: Jocara Knight, Jr., 8th Grade, Oakland Mills Middle School
  • 2nd Place: Olanna Ezeji, 7th Grade, Patapsco Middle School
  • 3rd Place: Lena Porter, 8th Grade, Mayfield Woods Middle School

Oratory Contest – High School

  • 1st Place: James Jiyu Obasiolu, 11th Grade, Atholton High School

Oratory Contest – Middle School

  • 1st Place: Alani Jordan, 7th Grade, Glenelg Country School

Poster Contest – Middle School

  • 1st Place: Crystal McGeehan, 8th Grade, Folly Quarter Middle School
  • 2nd Place: Neema Jones, 8th Grade, Elkridge Landing Middle School
  • 3rd Place: Liv Kaur, 6th Grade, Clarksville Middle School

Poster Contest – Elementary School 

  • 1st Place: Avery Richardson, 5th Grade, Fulton Elementary School
  • 2nd Place: Jordan Knight, 5th Grade, Stevens Forest Elementary School
  • 3rd Place: Monreaux West ,4th Grade, Gorman Crossing Elementary School

“The Celebration and Day of Service demonstrates the lasting impact of King’s teachings,” said Kurt Wall, Chair, Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission. “As Chair of the Howard County Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, I am honored to be part of an organization that not only memorializes Dr. King’s legacy but also inspires our community to take meaningful action. Together, we can build bridges of understanding and create positive change that echoes Dr. King’s vision of equality, justice, and unity.”

“Day of Service Across Howard County”:
Residents are also encouraged to participate in the County’s “Day of Service Across Howard County” project on Monday, January 15th. On the 15th, OHRE and the Commission will host several in-person and virtual events, ranging from food drives to activities at the County’s Harriett Tubman Cultural Center in Columbia. For a complete list of activities, visit the Commission’s website.

For more information about this year’s celebration and/or Day of Service activities, contact OHRE at 410-313-6430 or email MLK@howardcountymd.gov.

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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