Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards

 
 

Today, many of us take for granted that African Americans can stay in hotels, travel freely, use any public restroom, and eat at any restaurant. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders fought for these rights at a time when segregation was the norm.

The Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission recognizes individuals who embody Dr. King's life and work and to celebrate his spirit. The annual awards event, held on January 12, 2017, and hosted by the Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission, recognized three youth and two adult winners who are carrying on Dr. King's vision for civil rights, inclusiveness, social justice, diversity and an equal society for all people.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. peacefully and passionately pursued his dream of a world where men and women would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” said Gov. Bevin. “Those we honor with this award continue Dr. King’s admirable work by ensuring that every citizen of our great nation has the option of pursuing the American dream.”
 
Brigadier General Barbara Lynne Owens, Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, was the keynote speaker.
 
The following individuals were awarded the 2017 MLK Leadership award:

Adult Leadership Award Winners 

Edward L. Palmer Sr., Radcliff
  • 18 years in ministry and has brought a visitation center, community food pantry, foster care transitional living program for young adults, male/female transitional housing and mentoring for children
  • Appointed to the State Interagency Council and National Coalition for Juvenile Justice Executive Board
  • Has worked with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to build community-based opportunities for families in need.
  • Serving his fourth term as a Radcliff councilman
Mitchell Payne, Louisville
  • Past involvement with the Louisville Black Achievers program, a program he founded in Shelby County
  • Has served with the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Lincoln Foundation, Leadership Louisville, Leadership Kentucky, Urban League and NAACP voter registration drive
  • Director of U of L Office of Black Affairs and led a staff that designed one of the country’s premier models for recruitment, retention, graduation and job placement for black students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • After inheriting a 50-member university police department with only one African-American male and one white female officer, he increased diversity by 40 percent within five years by working hard and developing strong community partnerships. 

Youth Leadership Award Winners 

Ahmaad Edmund, Fairdale
  • Class president for six consecutive years
  • Member of the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students
  • On the Louisville mayor's One Love Louisville Youth Implementation team and the Police Chief’s Youth Advisory Council
  • Founded two black student unions focused on promoting educational and enrichment activities for African-American students
Maegan Helm, Louisville
  • Founder, Ballard High School’s Black Student Union
  • More than 75 hours of community service
  • Works with the Metro Louisville Brightside Hallmark Neighborhood Cleanup
  • 4.0 GPA, with numerous academic awards Ahmaad Edmund, Fairdale
  • Class president for six consecutive years
  • Member of the Muhammad Ali Center Council of Students
  • On the Louisville mayor's One Love Louisville Youth Implementation team and the Police Chief’s Youth Advisory Council
  • Founded two black student unions focused on promoting educational and enrichment activities for African-American students
Madison Roy, Louisville
  • Active in her community since age 7
  • Raised research money for studying leukemia on behalf of a classmate with the disease
  • Has organized presentations to help young children learn about Dr. King
  • Founder of Youth in Action Network of Louisville
For more information, contact the Governor’s Office of Minority Empowerment at 502.564.2611 or Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment (kyome@ky.gov).