This is the 37th year for the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards program in Bloomington-Normal. (B. Corbin/Ryan Denham/WJBC)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - Nominations are now being accepted for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards in Bloomington Normal.
Bloomington Human Relations Commission Director Ernestine Jackson said there are two awards given out annually, the Adult human relations award and the youth I Have a Dream Award. She said the committee is looking for people who have demonstrated the ideals of Dr. King.
"They have demonstrated committment to improving and cooperating and fostering mututal respect among people of different racial, ethnic, religious and other backgrounds. And, use of new and creative measures to fight discrimination, prejedous and effects of past discrimination," Jackson said.
Nominations are needed by Nov. 2, that's the first day tickets go on sale. Forms can be found and dropped off at either human relations office in Bloomington or Normal. The luncheon is Jan. 19.
This year's speaker is Jeff Johnson. He worked as a senior advisor for media and youth outreach for People of the American Way, as national director of the youth and college division of the NAACP and as vice president of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network.
Johnson has interviewed Africa's first elected female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as well as Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir. Johnson offered political commentary to news organizations including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
"We think that he is going to be an outstanding person to include the youth in what we do with the Dr. King celebration," Jackson said.
Bloomington-Normal's Dr. King awards luncheon is one of the oldest, continuous running celebrations of Dr. King in the country.
For more information on nominations, tickets, sponsorships and more, go to the Bloomington website at cityblm.org or Normal website at Normal.org.