Community service

Candidates sought for the 2022 MLK Community Service Award

A crowd estimated at 1,000 took to the march for peace on a freezing cold morning on January 20.

Photo by Sean Work


SOUTHFIELD – For more than 30 years, the Southfield Dr Martin Luther King Jr. task force has recognized individuals whose actions honor the spirit of the group’s namesake.

Now the group is seeking nominations for the 34th recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award.

“This award is given to the candidate who most faithfully demonstrates the ideals of unity and harmony between individuals of all races and nationalities, seeking justice and equality for all by demonstrating dignity and love in a manner nonviolent, as Dr King argued, “Dr King said. Faira Glenn, chair of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s task force, in an email.

Applicants must live or work in Southfield or Lathrup Village and be 18 years of age or older. Former recipients and current elected officials are not eligible. Applicants will be assessed based on their commitment to the advancement of human and civil rights, as well as their community service.

The nomination letter must include the name, address and telephone number of the nominator and the nominee. The nominator should also describe why they believe the candidate they have chosen deserves to win.

Send the nomination letter to Dorothy Dean, Chair of the Community Service Awards Committee, 26677 W. 12 Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan 48034, or email it to [email protected]

The deadline for applications is Wednesday December 1, 2021.

“We are looking for candidates who have dedicated their lives to serving the needs of humanity in their community, or someone who has been instrumental in advancing the human rights and civil rights of their fellow human beings.” Dean said in an email.

She recounted how over the years “we have had incredible recipients”, including in 1989 when the second prize went to Dr. William G. Anderson, who was part of the civil rights movement and in fact worked alongside King during the Albany. movement in the 1960s. Anderson had completed his postgraduate medical training in Michigan, after completing his general surgery residency at the Arts Center Hospital in Detroit. He continued to rally around human rights in the medical world and would become the first African American to be elected president of the American Osteopathic Association in 1994.

Another notable recipient cited by Dean was 2012 recipient Reverend Angelo Henderson, who received the Pulitzer Prize for Writing a Feature Film in Journalism. Henderson joined the Detroit News in 2001 and was selected because he helped shed light on the needs of marginalized Southfield residents, working for the good of the community.

The following year, 2013, the award went to Patrick Coleman, managing partner of Beans & Cornbread restaurant, chosen to support the annual Taste Fest, providing free food to the community.

Last year’s recipient was Darla Van Hoey, chosen for her advocacy work on behalf of indigenous peoples; his research led the city of Southfield to proclaim Indigenous Peoples Day in 2018 instead of Columbus Day.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Task Force is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, so all donations to the group are tax deductible. The group oversees commemorative efforts such as the annual Peace March held every year in honor of the King – the first dating back to 1986, making Southfield one of the first cities to host the march in Michigan. The group also offers scholarships to students and has set up a Youth Peacemaker program and an education committee.

Other notable projects over the years have included working with the Charles H. Wright Museum and a Mexican delegation to create an exhibit in 2012 titled “Pathways to Freedom in the Americas: Shared Experiences Between Michigan, United States and Guerrero, Mexico ”which continues to be featured in libraries, universities and corporate offices around the Detroit metro area.

In 2015, for the group’s 30th anniversary, the task force commissioned an artist to create a sculpted bust of the king which was displayed at the Southfield Public Library. The task force also created a history book around this time, featuring special guests including civil rights attorney Fred Gray, who was counsel for King and Rosa Parks. Aretha Franklin was also present at the event.

In 2017, the task force organized a “freedom hike” with 27 middle and high school students from Wayne and Oakland counties; they traveled on a bus to learn about the history of the civil rights movement. The bus took them to several locations, including the National African American Museum in Washington, DC; the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia; the Civil Rights Museum, where King was assassinated, in Memphis, Tennessee; and the Muhammad Ali Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.

Most recently, in 2019, the task force helped organize a youth leadership program in which local students participated in seminars, dialogues and workshops on non-violent activism, led by certified trainers. of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Today, the Working Group has more than 50 active members. Past membership peaked at around 200 members. For more information on how to get involved, visit