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2021 Keynote Speaker: Ambassador Andrew Young
- Opening remarks
- Musical performance
- Sponsorship recognition
- Community Award presentation
- Infinite Hope video
- Keynote by Ambassador Andrew Young
- Q&A with Ambassador Andrew Young
- Musical performance
- Closing remarks
Infinite Hope: The Power and Possibilities of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Vision
Infinite hope derives from a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” This quote can be seen to reflect the current times and challenges that we are navigating as a country and MU community, and the implications of these challenges on people’s physical, social, emotional, and professional safety and well-being.
The 2021 MLK Day Celebration Committee chose this theme to capture the evolution of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision and its implications for today’s time. The university community seeks to not only honor MLK for his work, but to think deeply about his messaging, the various changes he hoped this country would implement, and why he hoped these changes would occur.
Ultimately, this event aims to impart a sense of hope and possibility as we continue to strive towards a better, inclusive campus, city, state, nation and world.
MLK Community Award Details
Established in 2007, the University of Missouri Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award recognizes and affirms those in the Columbia community who have made significant tangible contributions in the areas of race relations, social justice and human rights.
Each year, the planning committee selects a Boone County resident or group to receive this award in recognition of extraordinary leadership and inspiration in furthering the goal of achieving greater cultural and ethnic diversity in the community. The award will be presented during the annual campus celebration commemorating Dr. King each January.
Those who have exhibited extraordinary leadership in one or more of the following areas are eligible for this award:
- Both individuals and advocacy groups may be nominated, but nominees must be residents of Columbia or Boone County.
- Nominees must not include MU faculty and staff.
- Nominees should be an individual who or organization that has made significant contributions in building a sense of unity among Columbia citizens.
- Nominees must work in the area of promotion and developing a mutual respect, understanding and appreciation for the cultural and ethnic diversity within our local and extended community (outside the university academic community).
- Nominees should have demonstrated ability in building local communities through various activities and programs that help to revitalize areas and make Columbia a more wholesome and desirable place for living, learning and loving.
- Nominees should have been personally or corporately involved in making tangible, visible, and meaningful contributions to the advancement of race relations, social justice, and/or human rights causes.
- In recognizing the personal commitment and example that Dr. King stressed and discussed in his speeches for academic achievement, nominees should have demonstrated a personal commitment to scholarship and/or attainment of educational goals despite significant barriers or obstacles (learning disabilities, poverty, etc.). Dr. King was known to challenge his followers to pursue excellence through a commitment to life-long learning. This dream still exists and nominees should demonstrate this desire.
- Nominees should demonstrate specific accomplishments in reducing barriers that have hindered under served groups from attaining academic excellence. Specific activities or accomplishments could include, but are not limited to, mentoring, tutoring, innovative pre-school programs, highly effective pre-college programs, provision of scholarships, etc. Special consideration will be given to the nominees who provide children access to the tools of technology and incorporate effective parental involvement.
The heart of the award is to recognize individuals who give their time and service freely to those in need without question, often without recognition. This award seeks to honor those who promote Dr. King’s legacy and attempt to make a difference in the lives of others through selfless service. Winners should stand as role models for others to emulate.
Past MLK Award Winners
- Eliot Battle
- Almeta Crayton
- Reverend Raymond Hayes
- Pamela Ingram
- Michael Middleton
- Minority Men’s Network
- West Boulevard Elementary School
- Nora Stewart Memorial Nursery School
- Camren D. Cross
- Columbia African American Association
- BOLD (Black + Brown Opportunity Leadership Development) Academy
- City of Refuge
Mizzou Campus Sponsors
- The Bridge in the College of Education
- College of Engineering
- School of Medicine
- Trulaske College of Business
- Missouri School of Journalism
- School of Law
Mizzou Campus Contributors
- Social Justice Centers
- College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
- School of Health Professions
- College of Arts and Science
Columbia-Area Local Community Sponsors
- Shelter Insurance
- Veterans United Home Loans
- Commerce Bank
- Central Bank of Boone County
Columbia-Area Local Community Contributors
- Missouri Employers Mutual
- Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Xi Epsilon Lambda Chapter
- Central Missouri (MO) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
MLK Planning Committee
The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commemorative committee is comprised of University of Missouri faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students, and Columbia community representatives. We seek to engage our students, campus and greater community in interaction that is positive, educational and entertaining.
- Erika Aaron, Co-Chair
- Terrell Morton, Co-Chair