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 15th, there will be a celebration at Howard Community College’s (HCC) Horowitz Center, followed by a Day of Service on Monday, January 16th. 

Every year, I look forward to the opportunity to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King. This celebration is about acknowledging the students and community leaders serving, protecting, and advocating for all of us here in Howard County. Howard County’s strength is in our commitment to serving those in need, protecting the vulnerable, and advocating for justice.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

This Sunday’s family-friendly, multi-cultural event will include musical performances, dramatic presentations, a keynote address by HCC President Dr. Daria Willis and recognition of the 2023 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. The event will also be livestreamed on OHRE’s Facebook page

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was committed to advocating for racial and economic justice. We preserve his legacy and multiply his impact by replicating his example in our students and communities. This yearly celebration is a beacon in our community as there is nothing more inspiring than seeing our children express intellectually and creatively how they plan to be agents for peace and change.

Yolanda F. Sonnier
Administration, 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 Mae A. Beale and Success in Style, recognized for their devotion to the community.
For the student essay, oratory and poster contests, students were asked to interpret Dr. King’s commitment to achieving world peace with the prompt: “Promoting Peace: within yourself, your community, and the world!” For the essay and oratory contest, middle and high school students wrote a 500-to-1,000-word essay or speech about this year’s theme. Students with disabilities were encouraged to participate in the essay contest submitting entries using other media and/or visual representation to convey their message. For the poster contest, elementary students created an original piece of artwork using a medium of their choosing that reflected their interpretation of this year’s theme. Along with their artwork, students also submitted a description of 300 words or less explaining their composition. The contest winners are:
Essay Contest – High School

  • 1st Place: Victoria Richardson, 10th Grade, Glenelg Country School
  • 2nd Place: Nicole Adesioye, 9th Grade, Glenelg Country School
  • 3rd Place: Osiris Griffin, 9th Grade, River Hill High School

Essay Contest – Middle School

  • 1st Place: Raima Shah, 8th Grade, Elkridge Landing Middle School
  • 2nd Place: Jocara Knight, Jr., 7th Grade, Oakland Mills Middle School
  • 3rd Place: Kristen Arthungal, 8th Grade, Harper's Choice Middle

Oratory Contest – High School

  • 1st Place: James Jiyu Obasiolu, 10th Grade, Atholton High School
  • 2nd Place: Antonio Clay-Hardy, 10th Grade, Wilde Lake High School

Oratory Contest – Middle School

  • 1st Place: Khadijah Adegbenro, 6th Grade, Clarksville Middle School

Poster Contest – Elementary and Middle School

  • 1st Place: Safa Ikram, 5th Grade, Saint John's Lane Elementary
  • 2nd Place: Tea Lucic, 5th Grade, Guilford Elementary School
  • 3rd Place: Brooklyn Byrd, 5th Grade, Guilford Elementary School

“Howard County is blessed with leaders who are intentional about finding innovative ways to promote advocacy, address inequity, and advance peace in our communities,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission President, Dr. A. Diane Martin. The “Living the Dream” Award is about acknowledging individuals and organizations for whom service and community engagement are a lifestyle commitment. This year’s recipients exemplify this very principle.
“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 16th. On the 16th, OHRE and the Commission will host a number of in-person and virtual events, ranging from food drives to activities at the County’s new Harriett Tubman Cultural Center. 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 Claudia Allen with OHRE at 410-313-6430 or email at [email protected].

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