Gov. Steve Beshear and Lieutenant Gov. Jerry Abramson participated in the state’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration Jan. 18 honoring a Shelbyville leader as well as nearly 20 Kentucky students for their outstanding essay and art achievements.
The Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission held the event – Moving Beyond the Dream….To Brighten The Future – to highlight the life of Dr. King and to honor individuals who embody the spirit and energy of the late civil rights leader.
“The legacy of Dr. King is one that very much lives on today and one that must live on through each of us,” Gov. Beshear said. “His mission remains not only relevant but also urgent and presents us with a challenge that we must answer.”
Dr. Gerald Smith, professor at the University of Kentucky, was guest speaker at the celebration, hosted by KET’s Renee Shaw.
Lt. Gov. Abramson presented the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Citizenship Award to Brenda Jackson, of Shelbyville. The award is given to an individual who demonstrates leadership and achievement in the principles of racial equality, interracial harmony and economic justice.
Jackson is a retired, 30-year employee of state government – 28 of those years she served as a judicial auditor for the Administrative Office of the Courts. Additionally, she is a 24-year member of the Shelby County Schools Board of Education and has dedicated her life to racial equity and to seeking quality education for all students. (Jackson served as president of KSBA from 2005 – 2007.)
“Brenda is an example of someone who, through her own life experiences, vowed to be the voice of those who deserve a quality and equitable education,” Lt. Gov. Abramson said. “Her education and background have served her well over the years as an advocate who isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions in order to facilitate change in her community.”
Eighteen elementary, middle and high school students from across the Commonwealth also were honored and given U.S. savings bonds as winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. essay and visual art contests.