Annapolis (December 29, 2014) -The 27th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Dinner will be convened Friday, January 16 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. Vice Admiral Walter Carter, Jr., Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy, will be the keynote speaker. A graduate of the Navy Fighter Weapons School, Top Gun in 1985, Carter flew 125 combat missions. Among the 10 honorees is Reverend Dr. Carletta Allen, Pastor of the Asbury United Methodist Church of Annapolis, who is being recognized for her long history of protesting violations of workers’ rights and other civil rights causes – even enduring being handcuffed and arrested for her beliefs. Another is Miriam Stanici, Community Relations Director of the Naval Academy, who sparked mids interest in tutoring youth from the Bloomsbury Square Public Housing Project. Another honoree is Dr. Larry W. Blum who has a long history of supporting local civil rights and diversity causes. Tickets and additional information at 410-760-4115 or www.facebook.com/mlkmd
Other individuals to be honored for their actions to help keep the legacy of Dr. King alive include: Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell Charles; Bishop Douglas Miles; Carl Owens; Howard Zeiderman; Jeffrey S. Blum; Monzy Faulkner, Jr., and Ramocille Solenza Cooper Johnson.
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 13). VIP tickets are $100 and include premium seating and a private reception before the dinner with hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. Entertainment will be provided by the Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra, which will perform orchestral arrangements of musical compositions made famous by Ray Charles and James Brown. Tickets may be purchased by phone at 410-760-4115; by mail to MLK Jr. Committee, PO Box 371, Annapolis MD 21404.
Purchase tickets to the dinner before January 6 and you will receive 2 free tickets to an advance screening of the new MLK Jr. film Selma on January 6 at 7:30 pm in Baltimore. Call 301-904-3690 to confirm receiving the passes.
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. With honorees from the county, remarks by recently installed County Executive Steve Schuh and an address by a highly decorated Naval officer, the banquet is a reflection on the best that Anne Arundel County has to offer.
Keynote speaker Vice Admiral Carter became the 62nd superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy on July 23. Earlier this year, while serving as the 54th president of the U.S. Naval War College, he established the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center in Newport, Rhode Island.
Carter graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981 and from the Navy Fighter Weapons School, Top Gun in 1985. He served as chief of Staff for Fighter Wing Pacific and executive assistant to the deputy commander, U.S. Central Command, as well as commander, Joint Enabling Capabilities Command. Carter is the recipient of numerous military honors.
The Reverend Doctor Carletta Allen –Pastor, Asbury United Methodist Church of Annapolis: Dream Keepers Award
A strong advocate for the rights of workers, the Reverend Dr. Carletta Allen was handcuffed and arrested at a 2013 march and sit-in she organized designed to bring attention to unfair labor practices at BWI Thurgood Marshall airport. Her efforts in this regard contributed to the recent hike in the Maryland minimum wage and Allen continues to push for liberalized sick leave and other issues for local low-income populations.
Most recently she was among those clergy who participated in a protest in Annapolis on December 13 to draw attention to police brutality and the treatment of African Americans after the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
Allen grew up mostly in southeast Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County, MD. Before settling in this area, she lived with her Air Force family in Japan for two years. It was there that her appreciation for other languages and cultures was born.
Allen’s passion as a preacher and prophetic leader is lived out through her work in community organizing. She served for four years as the Clergy Co-Chair of PATH (People Acting Together in Howard), an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). In addition, by working with other area IAF affiliates, PATH was able to secure victories on key legislative matters for the citizens of our region.
Prior to accepting the call to ordained service, Dr. Allen worked in corporate marketing for a Washington DC investment management firm. As an active lay church member she served in a variety of roles, one of which was prison ministry. For eight years she led training workshops in non-violent conflict resolution for some of the area’s most violent offenders. She counts this work as among the most rewarding of her life.
Allen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Maryland University College, a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary.
Miriam Stanicic: Drum Major Award
Stanicic became the Community Relations Director of the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in 2007. For the past two years, her department has been recognized as the best community relations program for a large shore command in the Navy, globally, and received the Thompson Ravitz Award for this distinction.
“We love working with Miriam. A few years ago she took the bull by the horns to bring cadets committed to community service and the kids at Bloomsbury Square together,” said Vince Leggett, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Annapolis, which runs the Bloomsbury Square Public Housing Project where Naval Academy Cadets volunteer to help elementary and middle school students with their homework three nights a week.
“The outlook on life of those kids has really been expanded, not only do they get committed help with their school-work but their cadets take them on tours of the Naval Academy showing them what is possible in their future.”
The efforts to assist the residents of Bloombury Square is set to expand in February to include an adult literacy program.
Through Stanicic’s leadership as Faculty Representative, the Midshipman Action Group (MAG) performed 25,000 hours of community outreach as well as collected more than 60,000 pounds of food for the local food bank in the Harvest for the Hungry program.
“I look back at my time at the Academy and wholeheartedly believe that collecting canned goods for Harvest for the Hungry, mentoring troubled youth, tutoring young people at Bloomsbury Square, and other community service projects broadened my view of the United States and the people with whom I will be both serving with and for,” said Second Lieutenant Kimberly Bernardy, USMC.
“Miriam’s tireless effort on behalf of less fortunate individuals is a beacon of light in today’s world. She has, and will continue to, impact midshipmen who in turn impact the local and national communities in countless ways,” Bernardy added.
Stanicic also works closely with the USNA Office of Diversity and has been instrumental in connecting USNA affinity groups to their community-based counterparts in Anne Arundel County and throughout the entire Baltimore-Washington corridor. She helped form the Midshipman Diversity Council, which brings together all affinity group Brigade leaders from the Academy to share best practices and raise awareness.
Dr. Larry W. Blum: Drum Major Award
Dr. Larry W. Blum, together with his brother Jeffrey, honor the memory and legacy of their father, the late Morris H. Blum, for whom another Martin Luther King Jr. award is named, by supporting the work of individuals who they believe to be pioneers in human rights in our nation. Among those are Robert Eades, director of the Neet and Klean Boys Club of Annapolis.
“Larry strongly believes that change is possible in all kids, no matter how troubled,” said Eades, who escaped a some of the same circumstances as his charges to become a testament to that possibility. Dr. Blum has provided the funding that makes it possible for Eades to take his club on field trips to places like Sandy Point State Park, the Blacks in Wax Museum and the Smithsonian Institution.
“Larry also purchased a table at last years MLK Committee Awards dinner last year so that the kids could be part of the celebration,” Eades added. “He is not looking for any recognition for these actions. He simply believes in the cause.”
Dr. Blum also is an ardent supporter of the work of the MLK Jr. Committee in Annapolis and contributed to the Civil Rights Foot Soldiers Memorial as well as donating funds to help create the Coretta Scott King Memorial Garden.
Dr. Blum was born in Baltimore MD, but graduated from Annapolis Senior High School. He attended University of Maryland and earned a Bachelor’s degree in biology and subsequently graduated from medical school at Howard University College of Medicine.
After practicing medicine in Philadelphia for three years, Dr. Blum started his neurology practice in Annapolis in 1989, and was on the medical team at Anne Arundel Medical Center until 2012. He is currently on staff at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center Neurosurgery.
Jeffery S. Blum: Drum Major Award
Jeffrey S. Blum, with his brother Larry, honors the memory and legacy of their father, the late Morris H. Blum, for whom another Martin Luther King Jr. award is named, by supporting the work of individuals who they believe to be pioneers in human rights in our local community. Morris H. Blum, an Annapolis radio station owner was hailed as a pioneer in race relations for putting African-American personalities on the air more than six decades ago.
Jeffrey S. Blum was born in Annapolis, and graduated from Annapolis Senior High School in 1967. He then attended Anne Arundel Community College and the University of Baltimore where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts in 1973. Blum went on to receive a Master’s degree in History from Morgan State College in 1976.
Blum worked at Radio Station WANN, founded by his father, the late Morris H. Blum. Jeffrey worked first as announcer, then as full time program director from 1966 until the station closed in 1997.
Ramocille Johnson: Drum Major Award
Before Ramocille Solenza Cooper Johnson retired in 2009 from Anne Arundel County Public School system, she sponsored a multi-ethnic club at North County High School for which she received commendations for her leadership from the Anne Arundel County ESOL Team. Johnson also served as a choral, piano, and guitar instructor for many years, as well as teaching United States history, social studies and freshman orientation. Additionally, she was a team leader for the Standards Committee as the school prepared to meet qualifications for Accreditation for Growth process in 2006. She served as a member of the Anne Arundel High School Choral Directors until retirement.
Carl Owens: We Share the Dream Award
Wherever William Carl Owens III, known to most as Carl Owens, has called home, he has been active as an advocate for the community, school and church. In younger days, he used his athletic prowess to coach low-income students. Today he straddles the line between human services and sales.
Owens grew up on the Broadneck Peninsula and has since lived in Maryland, Iowa, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
Ald. Rhonda Pindell-Charles: Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award
For more than three decades, Rhonda Pindell Charles has been active in the community including sitting on numerous boards, commissions and committees on a multitude of civic and governmental levels such as the City of Annapolis Board of Appeals and several bipartisan mayoral transition teams, the Parole Elementary School Alumni and Friends Association, as well as working for more than 20 years as a Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorney, before her retirement in 2004. She also served as a Speech Writer for the State’s Attorney and as program coordinator of the Minority Health Office at the Anne Arundel County Health Department and School and Community Outreach Specialist for the Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
Pindell-Charles was appointed by the governor to serve on the Judicial Appointments Commission for Anne Arundel County. In November 2013, Rhonda was elected to serve on the Annapolis City Council, representing Ward 3.
Bishop Douglas Miles: Courageous Leadership Award
Bishop Douglas I. Miles, a native Baltimorean, has been in ministry for 41 years. For 15 years he served as pastor of Brown’s Memorial Baptist Church in Baltimore, during which time the church established the first homeless shelter with accommodations for women and their children in the city.
He is the organizer of Koinonia Baptist Church in Baltimore. Under his leadership, the church initiated a number of innovative ministries including an after-school program called Project Safe Haven, a juvenile alternative sentencing initiative called the Neighborhood Evening Reporting Center and a program for women recovering from addiction called the House of Tabitha. Bishop Miles also is a national award-winning columnist with the Afro-American newspaper.
Howard Zeiderman: Peace Keeper Award
Howard Zeiderman is the co-founder and President of the Touchstones Discussion Project, a non-profit organization that creates discussion-based educational programs to build critical thinking skills, collaborative leadership, and community. For more than 30 years, Zeiderman’s focus has been to use discussion to overcome individual and cultural barriers that prevent respectful and inclusive dialogue and problem solving. Today, Touchstones programs are used in 38 countries and in six languages and have included more than 5,000,000 people.
Monzy Faulkner, Jr.: Drum Major Award
Monzy Faulkner owns the “All in His Hands Barbershop” in Glen Burnie. He founded the barbershop 21 years ago. He is a successful entrepreneur who has been giving back to his local community for many years providing free haircuts and school supplies to those in need. He runs a Back to School event in August, an Annual Cook Out in July, supports the annual Freetown Festival, sponsors local football teams and visits rehabilitation facilities and senior housing projects offering free haircuts to the residents.
The Back to School event is held in August where between 300 and 400 school age children are given food, back packs, school supplies and free haircuts every year. Originally he provided all the funds to make this project work but after TV station WBAL-11 did a story on his generosity other folks have helped monetarily allowing many more children to benefit.
He is a Deacon in his church, Freedom Church in Baltimore, and has been a churchgoer all his life. He credits God with his success as a businessman and the inspiration for his community work. One of his good friends who has his hair cut at “All in His Hands Barbershop” is Bishop Larry Lee Thomas of the Empowering Believers Church in Glen Burnie. Thomas said, “ God is the central focus of Monzy’s life. He reaches out to the young people of our community to encourage them to see the power of God as he does”.
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