Local Civil and Human Rights Activists to be Honored

By Kathy Knotts 

Nonprofit founders, social justice champions, community leaders, visionaries. These are just a few of the titles used to describe this year’s slate of award recipients to be honored at the 33rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards program Friday Jan. 15. 

The Annapolis-based Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Inc., founded in 1988 by then-Alderman Carl Snowden, honors local citizens whose leadership in civil and human rights has helped keep King’s legacy alive. For the first time, the annual dinner, normally held at La Fontaine Bleue in Glen Burnie, will be a virtual affair but will still include music by the U.S. Naval Academy Gospel Choir and remarks from county leaders.  

Among the 13 honorees acknowledged at the event are: Diana Love and Amy Marshall of Annapolis, winners of the Peace Maker Award for their monumental efforts to provide food relief during the COVID-19 crisis (covered last fall by CBM Bay Weekly: https://bayweekly.com/moms-team-up-to-feed-neighbors-community/); Speaker Adrienne Jones of Annapolis, winner of the Courageous Leadership Award for her efforts as Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, the first African-American and the first woman to serve in this position in Maryland; and Delorma “Dee” Goodwyn, of Severn, winner of the Dream Keepers Award for her 30 years volunteering for civil rights and social causes in Anne Arundel County, including her work on the Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Board of Directors. 

Diana Love and Amy Marshall founded the West Annapolis Pop Up Pantry last fall and worked with community partners to raise more than $100,000 in one month to provide food and aid for COVID-19 crisis response. Marshall supported Love’s efforts by offering her short-term rental property as a storage and distribution site. Love and Marshall’s mission is to support members of the community who’ve lost their income due to COVID-19 and who do not have access to federal aid such as unemployment, stimulus checks, or loans. This pantry has supported more than 50,000 families and 150,000 individuals across nine months and counting. Each weekend, WAPP hosts a food drive that serves roughly 315 families and 1,400 people. Partnering with Center of Help, Annapolis Moms, and West Annapolis Business Affiliation, Love and Marshall have worked nonstop to collect food and funds to help families in need. Together with dozens of local women, as well as community partners, the effort focused on hand-delivering food, diapers, toys and much more to families in need. 

Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones is the recipient of the Courageous Leadership Award. She has been a delegate since 1997, originally serving as Speaker Pro Tempore in the Maryland House of Delegates for 16 years. Jones has worked on the House Appropriations Committee and was chair of the Capital Budget and Education and Economic Development Subcommittees. In 2019, she received the Casper R. Taylor Jr. Founder’s Award for her government service, the highest award given to a member of the House of Delegates.   Jones also has extensive leadership in Baltimore County, serving for 37 years as the first executive director of the Baltimore County Office of Fair Practices and Community Affairs, as deputy director of the Baltimore County Office of Human Resources, and is the founder of the annual Baltimore County African American Cultural Festival, now in its 21st year. 

Delorma “Dee” Goodwyn is the recipient of the Dream Keepers Award. Goodwyn has spent nearly 30 years volunteering for civil rights and social causes in Anne Arundel County. For the past decade, Goodwyn has served on the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee Board of Directors, supporting various programs and fundraising efforts, and also establishing the Fannie Lou Hamer program. Goodwyn has long worked to promote fair treatment of city residents. In 2019, she was appointed member of the Anne Arundel County Personnel Board to hear cases and disputes from county employees. As one of the founders of the Caucus of African American Leaders, Goodwyn was responsible for organizing annual holiday bazaars, which were designed to promote local Black businesses. Goodwyn organized the 2020 Women’s History Program, which recognized 100 female leaders in the county. She is active with the Racial Equity in Media Consortium, a group of elected officials, religious leaders, and organizations that promote racial equity in the media. 

Other winners include: Dr. Erin Snell, winner of the Drum Major Award; Barbara Arnwine, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award; Daryl Jones, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award; Vincent Leggett, winner of the Alan Hillard Legum Civil Rights Award; Dee Strum, winner of the Drum Major Award; Michael Sears, winner of the Drum Major Award; Midshipman First Class Madeleine Cooke, winner of the Drum Major Award; Steuart Pittman, winner of the Morris H. Blum Humanitarian Award; and Walter Vasquez, winner of the We Share the Dream Award. 

The MLK Awards Program begins at 6pm at www.mlkjrmd.org and via local access TV channels.