Two Northern Kentucky students were honored as award winners at the 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards, hosted by the Martin Luther King, Jr. State Commission during a video ceremony on Monday in honor of the civil rights leader.
The commission is administratively attached to the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office, awards co-sponsor along with the Kentucky Historical Society. The video was introduced by acting commission chair Kevin Russell of Radcliff with an invocation by member Wanda Washington of Campbellsville, followed by a greeting from Gov. Andy Beshear.
"I am so honored to be joining you virtually today for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. awards recognizing community leaders for their service and dedication to building a more just, equal, and a better world for all. In my opinion this recognition is one of the highest honors one can receive as it carries the name of one of our greatest leaders and activists," said Beshear. "You are doing the groundwork to make real, impactful change... building on the progress Dr. King made in helping to create a better world for all our people."
KET public affairs, managing producer and host Renee Shaw was the keynote speaker, framing recent events in our state and nation's history with her personal journey and challenging others to consider "what is 2021 calling on us to do?"
"It's heartening to learn of the poetry and art submissions of students across this Commonwealth answering the question of how this civil rights icon would inspire the nation if he were alive today," she said. "Many of us wrestle with that question now more than ever.
Student awards encourage youth to express themselves creatively through essays, visual art and poetry.
Students from Holmes Middle School and Campbell County Middle School were among the winners who will receive a certificate signed by the governor.
Donyale Artis, an eighth-grade student at Holmes, won first place in student art contest, middle school division, for the artwork pictured above.
Mirabel Tsetse, a sixth-grade student at Campbell County Middle School, won first place in the student poetry competition, middle school division. Her poem, titled, "If they were here", is published below:
Rosa Parks, MLK
I know if they were alive today, They would stand up against these cruel acts
And protest these horrible attacks.
On the African-American community,
So that FINALLY, there will be unity.
If they were here,
Our world would be a better place.
For anyone of any race. Hispanic, Asian, Indian, Blacks.
Maybe for once we can all relax!
To Enjoy this beautiful world,
That god has given
Despite your Religion
We can all live in Harmony and peace
Surely in that moment discrimination will cease
They would inspire our nation
They would help our current situation.
Strong, brave leaders are what we need
They are the foundation,
Of a fair and equal community indeed
He would be just would we need,
Martin Luther King