Ohio.gov  |   State Agencies   |   Online Services
Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission

The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission (Commission) was established in 1985 by Executive Order. Today the Equal Opportunity Division provides administrative support to the commission.

The Commission is a statewide advocate of Dr. King's principles of nonviolence and annually honors Ohio's citizens who work to promote diversity and eliminate discrimination through nonviolent methods. Each year, the Commission presents awards to Ohioans to celebrate the life of Dr. King, whose teachings encourage nonviolent actions to secure equal rights for all Americans. The commemorative celebration is held each January in downtown Columbus. 

The Commission strives to carry our Dr. King's dream of service to others throughout the entire year through various events. To learn more about the Commission as well as how you can become involved, please click below. 

Annual Awards and Commemorative Celebration

Watch online!

32nd Annual MLK Awards

The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission is excited to present awards in categories for Ohioans for their efforts to keep Dr. King's dream alive and advance his philosophy of nonviolent social change. Winners to be announced soon!

Awards were presented at the annual commemorative celebration Jan. 12 in downtown Columbus.


Annual King Calendar

2017 Dr. King Calendar - Now available!

The 2017 MLK Calendar is free and available to the public on a "first come, first serve" basis. Click here for a list of regional distribution centers.

Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest

Statewide Oratorical Contest 2017

Theme announced!

For 2017, the MLK Commission selected the theme "Stick with Love: the Work Continues." The theme comes from one of Dr. King's love-themed speeches given in 1967. This anti-Vietnam War and pro-social justice speech, titled, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence," was delivered on April 4, 1967, at Riverside Church in New York City. In the speech, he calls for "an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind" which is an "absolute necessity for the survival of man." He goes on to explain that this type of love is the "force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life."

MLK Commission Community Calendar of Events

MLK Commission's Community Calendar

This Community Calendar is to highlight events across Ohio commemorative Dr. King.  If your community has a diversity event or an event celebrating Dr. King that you would like included, please send an email to the MLK Commission at mlk@das.ohio.gov.

MLK Commission Meetings

MLK Commission Members

50th Anniversary: Civil Rights Act of 1964

View Governor Kasich and Lt. Governor Taylor's resolution commemorating 50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act.


50th Anniversary Celebration: "Let Freedom Ring"

The year 2013 marked a landmark in American history.  On Aug. 28, 1963, the March on Washington culminated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic "I Have a Dream" speech.

The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission (Ohio MLK Commission) and Governor John R. Kasich, together with the King Center in Atlanta and the 50th Anniversary Coalition, encouraged individuals and organizations throughout Ohio to pause to remember, reflect and act upon the dream that Dr. King shared with the world 50 years ago.  Organizations were invited to join in "Let Freedom Ring" bell-ringing events at 3 p.m. on Aug. 28, a half-century to the minute after Dr. King delivered his historic address.  Please see the links below for more information.

The Ohio MLK Commission hosted a bell-ringing commemorative ceremony at the West Plaza of the Statehouse in downtown Columbus on Aug. 28 at 3 p.m.  Please see below for additional information.

Ohio MLK Commission "Let Freedom Ring" photos:



For more photos from the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Bell Ringing, please visit the MLK Commission on Facebook! Like us at: www.facebook.com/ohiomlkcommission.

MLK Commission

Commission members include: Will Lucas, chair (Toledo); Rev. Joel L. King, Jr., vice chair (Gahanna); Napoleon A. Bell II (Columbus); Sen. Edna Brown (Toledo); Dr. Fannie Brown (Akron); McKinley Brown (Cincinnati); Robert Gordon (Gallipolis); David Jehnsen (Galena); Dorothy Lovell Jones (Lima); Elizabeth Blount McCormick (Columbus); Rev. Lorenzo Norris (Cleveland); and Eddie Sipplen (Akron).

Now you can follow the MLK Commission on Facebook! Like us at: www.facebook.com/ohiomlkcommission

To contact the MLK Commission, e-mail