Ohio.gov  |   State Agencies   |   Online Services
MLK Annual Awards

Announcing the 2017 MLK Awardees!

32nd Annual State of Ohio MLK Commemorative Celebration

The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission is excited to be present awards in categories for Ohioans' efforts to keep Dr. King's dream alive and advance his philosophy of nonviolent social change. Awards were presented at the annual commemorative celebration Jan. 12, 2017 in downtown Columbus. This free noon event recognizes Ohio individuals and organizations for their efforts to advance social change. The annual awards program recognizes the service and achievements of Ohio residents and organizations in areas consistent with the teachings and example of Dr. King. His commitment to seeking racial, social and economic justice through non-violent struggle benefited not only the victims of oppression, but society as a whole. Annual awards lift up both concrete achievements and the continuing spirit of King's dreams for this nation and Ohio. 

The event also featured the winners of the Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest, which also is sponsored by the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission.

If you have any questions about this celebration or any other event sponsored by the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, please contact Bobbi Bell-Bartholomew at 614-466-8380 or via email at

  • Click here to view event release. Lt. Gov. Taylor: MLK's messages are timeless

  • Click here to view press release announcing 2017 award winners.

  • Click here to watch the 2016 celebration online.

Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission
2017 Annual Award Winners

Governor's Humanitarian Award

Mackenzie Lewis, Columbus

Community Building Award

Wayne McLaughlin, Chillicothe

Cultural Awareness Award

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Lima

Economic Opportunity Award

JumpStart, Inc., Cleveland

Educational Excellence Award

Jill Ackerman, Lima

Health Equity and Awareness Award

Katie Potter, Brook Park

Social Justice Award

Phillip Morton, Lima


Additional photos from the 32nd Annual MLK Commemorative Celebration are forthcoming. In the meantime, to view photos from the 31st Annual MLK Commemorative Celebration, please visit the Commission's Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/ohiomlkcommission.



 Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission distributed awards to Ohioans who are carrying on the legacy of Dr. King. The awards were part of the 32nd annual Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration held Jan. 12 at Trinity Episcopal Church, Columbus. Pictured are (front row, from left) Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart, Inc., of Cleveland, recipient of the Economic Opportunity Award; Wayne McLaughlin of Chillicothe, recipient of the Community Building Award; Katie Potter of Brook Park, recipient of the Health Equity and Awareness Award; Mackenzie Lewis of Columbus, recipient of the Governor’s Humanitarian Award; Jill Ackerman of Lima, recipient of the Educational Excellence Award; (second row) Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor; Andrea King, president of the Lima chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, recipient of the Cultural Awareness Award; Commissioner Fannie L. Brown, Akron; (third row) Phillip Morton of Lima, recipient of the Social Justice Award; Commission Chair Will Lucas, Toledo; Commissioner Dorothy Lovell Jones, Lima; Commissioner Rev. Lorenzo Norris, Cleveland; Commissioner David Jehnsen, Galena; (back row) Commissioner Rev. Joel L. King, Jr., Gahanna; Commissioner Robert Gordon, Gallipolis; and Commissioner Napoleon A. Bell II, Columbus. (Photo by Colleen O’Shea, Ohio State Highway Patrol)