Login | January 16, 2019

MLK awards winners announced ahead of annual state celebration

KEITH ARNOLD
Special to the Legal News

Published: January 10, 2019

A gastroenterologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center joins a half-dozen individuals and organizations who are to be recognized by the state's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission during the organization's annual celebration next Thursday.

Dr. Darrell Gray II, an assistant professor and deputy director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at The James Cancer Hospital, shares this year's Health Equity and Awareness Award with the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County.

The award recognizes exemplary community outreach and educational programs directed toward under-served populations in the state to increase overall health-care accessibility with a high quality of customer service.

Gray has engineered a comprehensive colorectal cancer awareness and screening program that has been recognized nationally by the American College of Gastroenterology and National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, according to a press release.

Additionally, he chairs the Health Equity Steering Committee at the university, assists in the implementation of Health Sciences Academies in Columbus City Schools, serves on the board of Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services and is an ambassador for #BlackMeninMedicine.

Other award winners include:

• Community Building Award - Michael Douglas of Chesterland, who founded Diversity Initiatives, Inc. in 1998 to help public and private organizations advance positive interaction and communication across racial, cultural, socio-economic and gender-based boundaries;

• Cultural Awareness Award - Toledo Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club Inc., which conducts community service projects and workshops for local youth and presents educational presentations about the heritage and history of the Buffalo Soldiers.

The motorcycle club is named for the historic African-American U.S. Army regiments nicknamed "Buffalo Soldiers" by Native Americans who encountered the service members on the battlefield;

• Governor's Humanitarian Award - Pastor Michael Carter Jr. whose Praise City Worship Centers in Toledo and Detroit include operation of a food pantry and provision of free meals for youth during the summer and free-food-for-basketball program participants. Carter also leads several small groups, including parenting classes, fatherhood classes, peer mentoring, youth mentoring and a youth leadership initiative with millennials in ministry and business.

• Social Justice Award - Vincent Edwards Jr. of Cincinnati, who works as a victim advocate for the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office, has authored children's book, One Face/One Race, to explain racial equality to kids and engages schoolchildren in discussions of important issues; and

• Youth: Capturing the Vision of Dr. King Award - Groomed for Greatness, a Toledo nonprofit organization serving girls ages 4 to 17 to enhance their lives through professional and personal research-based programming that equips them with the necessary skills to become leaders.

The 34th annual Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration is noon Jan. 17 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 E. Broad St., downtown.

The free annual event also is expected to feature speeches from winners of the 2018 Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest held last April.

The commission is housed in the Equal Opportunity Division of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, which provides centralized support for state agencies.

For more information about the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, visit das.ohio.gov/mlk.

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