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MLK Annual Awards

37th Annual MLK Awards and
Commemorative Celebration 


The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission presents awards annually in categories for Ohioans' efforts to keep Dr. King's dream alive and advance his philosophy of nonviolent social change. Awards will be presented as part of the 2022 Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration. The celebration, which was hosted virtually in 2021, annually recognizes Ohio individuals and organizations for their efforts to advance social change. More details about the event, which is held each January leading up to the MLK holiday, will be available in the coming months. 

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 Commission this year reformatted the awards and nomination timeline. Nominations for five awards will now be accepted year-round with the deadline for nominations for the following January's event. The 2022 awards nomination deadline has been extended until Nov. 30. Any nominations received after Nov. 30 will be considered for the following year's event. Nominations can be submitted electronically by clicking here to download and complete the nomination form. Completed forms can be emailed to the Commission at mlk@das.ohio.gov


  • Click here to nominate a person or organization for the 2022 awards
  • Click here for press release announcing nomination period for 2022 awards
  • Click here to view the 2021 pre-recorded event in its entirety
  • Click here to view the event program
  • Click here for press release announcing awardees for 2021​​

If you have any questions about the nomination process, the commemorative celebration or any other event sponsored by the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, please contact us at 614-466-2136 or via email at mlk@das.ohio.gov.

Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission
2021 Annual Award Winners

Governor's Humanitarian Award

Doni Miller, Toledo

Community Building Award

Johnnie Jackson, Marion

Cultural Awareness Award

The Marion Voices Folklife and Oral History Program, Marion

Economic Opportunty Award

Sheryl Rajbhandari, Cincinnati

Educational Excellence Award

Candace Floyd, Marion

Health Equity and Awareness Award

Whitney Gherman, Marion

Social Justice Award

Katherine Yoder, Bexley

Youth: Capturing the Vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Klarke Griffith, Cincinnati

To view photos from the 35th Annual MLK Commemorative Celebration, please visit the Commission's Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/ohiomlkcommission.



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 35th annual Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration held Jan. 16, 2020 at Trinity Episcopal Church, Columbus. Pictured are (front row, from left) – Members of MORTAR, Cincinnati; (middle row, from left) Member of MORTAR, Cincinnati; Rev. Gerard Mirbel, Painesville; Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Columbus; Dr. Anahi Ortiz, New Albany; Veronica Sims, Akron; Billy Joe White, Zanesville; (back row) Commissioner Senator Hearcel Craig; Commissioner Paul M. Booth; Commissioner Elizabeth Blount McCormick; Commissioner Jeffrey L. Johnson; Commissioner Tracey Winbush; Governor Mike DeWine; Commission Vice Chair, Rev. Joel L. King, Jr.; Commissioner Kacy R. Bullard; Commissioner Napoleon A. Bell II; Commission Chair Will Lucas; and Commissioner David Jehnsen. (Photo by Becci Meadows, Ohio Department of Public Safety.)