MLK Annual Awards

Now seeking nominations!
34th Annual State of Ohio MLK Awards


The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission will present awards in categories for Ohioans' efforts to keep Dr. King's dream alive and advance his philosophy of nonviolent social change. Awards will be presented at the annual commemorative celebration held Jan. 17, 2019 at Trinity Episcopal Church 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.
Additionally, elementary, middle school, and high school students who won first place in at the statewide MLK oratorical contest, held each spring, serve as the event's keynote speakers. The students speak about peace, unity, and Dr. King's influence in their lives.

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 Bobbi Bell-Bartholomew at 614-466-8380 or via email at

  • Click here to download the nomination form and award criteria.

  • Click here to view 2018 news release concerning nominations.

  • Click here to view press release announcing 2018 award winners.


Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission
2018 Annual Award Winners

Governor's Humanitarian Award

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Cleveland

Community Building Award

Cornerstone Global Network, Toledo

Cultural Awareness Award

Marlon C. Shackelford, Dayton

Economic Opportunity Award

City of Cincinnati

Health Equity and Awareness Award

Dr. Marilyn Joy Kindig, Dayton

Social Justice Award

Rev. Damon Lynch, Jr., Cincinnati

Social Justice Award

Keyaunte Jones, Toledo

To view additional photos from the 32nd Annual MLK Commemorative Celebration, please visit the Commission's Facebook page at:



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)