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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

31st Annual MLK Awards
Watch online!
Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission presented awards in eight categories to Ohioans for their 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. 14 in downtown Columbus.



Annual King Calendar

2016 Dr. King Calendar - Coming soon!

The 2016 MLK Calendar is free and will be available to the public by the first of the year.

Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest

Statewide Oratorical Contest 2015
Winners announced!

The 2015 theme was "Give Us the Ballot: A Hope for Change." The statewide contest was April 17, 2015 at the King Arts Complex in Columbus.

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 c/o bobbi.bell@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: Rev. Joel L. King, Jr., Interim 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); Will Lucas (Toledo); Rev. Lorenzo Norris (Cleveland); Rep. Barbara Sears (Monclova Township); 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