Local Human and Civil Rights Champions to be Recognized During Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration

Event will feature service fair, community choir

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AIKEN, SC (01/08/2018) A local community member and two college students will be recognized for their human and civil rights work during the 2018 Community Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration, an annual event presented by Aiken Technical College (ATC) and USC Aiken (USCA).

The event will be held Sunday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. at the USC Aiken Convocation Center, 2049 Champion Way in Aiken. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. with a service fair being held from 2:30 to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

This is the inaugural year for the human and civil rights awards. The Human & Civil Rights Community Award aims to recognize a community member who has helped protect and/or advance the human and civil rights of the Aiken County community; is an active member of a service organization in the Aiken County community; has built effective partnerships with students and area schools; or has worked on a community project that identifies and encourages the value of diversity.

The colleges will also present one student from each institution with a Human & Civil Rights Student Champion Award to recognize students who have helped to protect and/or advance the human and civil rights of other students on campus; are active with a service organization on campus; worked to build more effective partnerships with students and faculty on campus; or have worked on a college project or paper that identifies and encourages the value of diversity.

"The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee and I are excited about recognizing the contributions of the community and students from Aiken Tech and USC-Aiken for their humanitarian efforts," said Stephanie Franklin, committee chair.

"It's a nice addition to our annual program and a great way to say 'Thank you' to those unsung champions for change."

The keynote speaker for the annual event will be South Carolina State Sen. Mia S. McLeod who represents District 22 (Richland and Kershaw counties). McLeod, the first woman to represent Richland County in the South Carolina Senate, currently serves on the following committees: Senate Judiciary; Transportation; Corrections and Penology; and the general committee.

McLeod will speak on the event's theme, a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve…you only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love."

Attendees are encouraged to participate in the service fair prior to the start of the program which will highlight area service organizations. Each will provide information about its mission, services, and volunteer opportunities. Organizations interested in participating should contact Sharon Rodgers at (803) 648-8331 or sharon@uwaiken.org. There is no fee to participate in the service fair.

Again this year, the event will also feature the community choir which will sing two selections during the event. Participation is open to the public. Those interested in participating on the choir should contact Joel Scraper at (803) 641-3306 or joels@usca.edu. Rehearsals will be scheduled prior to the event.

Sponsorships are available at various levels. Organizations or individuals interested in becoming a sponsor for the event should contact Mary Driscoll at (803) 641-3448 or maryd@usca.edu.