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KING HOLIDAY COMMITTEE OF PEORIA – WPNV, 106.3 FM Receives MLK Commemorative Service Leadership Award

The 2016 MLK Commemorative Service Leadership Award:

Garry and Denise Moore_finalThe King Holiday Committee of Peoria presented its annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service Leadership Award and MLK Drum Major Awards at the 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service held at New Morning Star following the MLK Freedom March on Monday, January 18, 2016.

This year, a local organization was honored with the prestigious Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service Leadership Award. The award goes to an individual or group that has made a significant recent contribution having great impact to our community.

Consider the power and reach of four numbers. Just 4.  And we’re not talking about the lottery.
But four numbers that can give us something we can’t find anywhere else. Four numbers that arm us with information, allow us to tell our stories and air our concerns.  In other words, four numbers that give us a voice — Peoria’s Neighborhood Voice. In an era where corporate giants run radio stations, the need is stronger than ever for community-based power. In an era of social media, the need is stronger than ever for voices that sift through the chatter.  It’s there in those four numbers — WPNV at 106.3 FM on your dial. In an era where people believe it takes massive amounts of money to build power, WPNV shows what we can accomplish if we have knowledge.  The low-power community-based radio station is only a year old and it’s getting ready to move to new headquarters soon. But it already feels like a neighborhood institution.  Owned by the Peoria Chapter of Black Business Alliance, WPNV is run by Denise and Garry Moore — a marriage of leadership and service.

The 2016 MLK Drum Major Awards:

Agnes Ewing_finalAgnes Ewing, Drum Major Award for Community Support. You may not have heard this word before. Doula, spelled D-O-U-L-A.  But if you have heard the term, you may think of a doula as someone wealthy white women pay to help them get through childbirth. Our next honoree knows better. She is a community-based doula — just about the only one in the area — through the Children’s Home’s Good Beginnings program. For almost 20 years, she has been in the delivery room with who-knows-how-many teen mothers, guiding from the last stages of pregnancy to the early stages of motherhood — but especially childbirth. She has supported young pregnant girls who would have been at the hospital absolutely alone — were it not for her.

HHope Builders_finalope Builders, Drum Major Award for Community Reinvestment. Our first honoree is not a program. It’s a mission.  A mission of HOPE that repairs old, leaky roofs. Fixes sagging front porches. Remodels bathrooms, builds wheelchair ramps and whatever else South side residents need for their homes.  Since 2004, with the help of an army of volunteers, this program has repaired more than 300 homes free of charge for families who had no hope, no idea how they’d pay for the repairs themselves. It’s a partnership between South Side Mission and Metro Peoria Baptist Association. More than that, it’s a ministry — led by two men, Craig Williams and Harold Booze , supported by many others.
SSouthside Office of Concern_finalouthside Office of Concern, Drum Major Award for Community Service. It is one thing to need home repairs. It is quite another to be homeless. This agency has been in the forefront of making sure homeless people have permanent housing, consistently putting its staff and its funding on the front lines of the struggle. Whether the struggle meant stepping up to save homeless programs when another agency went bankrupt or pushing back against the varying forces that make it tough to find affordable housing for most folks — much less affordable housing for the mentally ill, ex-offenders, or veterans. Or people forced to leave bedbug-infested hotels.
Syed and Maqbool Ali_finalDr. Syed Ali and Dr. Maqbool Ali. Drum Major Award for Community Mentoring. From the early days of the Montgomery bus boycott, Dr. King referred to India’s Mohondas Gandhi as ‘‘the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change’’. Following the success of the boycott in 1956, Dr. King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles.  Three years later, on February 3, 1959, he and his wife, Corretta, began a five-week tour of India. Upon their arrival at New Delhi’s Airport, Dr. King told a group of reporters, ‘‘To other countries I may go as a tourist, but to India I come as a pilgrim’’. We are blessed that several decades ago, two individuals from India came as Pilgrims to America. Pilgrims to Peoria. They are two doctors that not only provide quality medical care to our community, they go beyond the doctor’s call – like King and Ghandi, they serve – providing healthcare to the indigent, mentorship to youth and adults, job shadowing and education, advice and inspiration. Guided by their Islamic faith, these pilgrims in practice have shown that love can transcend our differences and build progress. They are not only married to one another, they are married to our community.




Daniel Duncan._final

Police Officers Daniel Duncan

Aaron Watkins_final

Police Officers Aaron Watkins

Peoria Police Officers Daniel Duncan and Aaron Watkins. Drum Major Award for Education and Service. At a time when the deaths of young unarmed black men at the hands of police constantly stunned us, these honorees went to the streets with truth and love about one way to prevent these deaths. They were clear it wasn’t the only way, but another step in a long journey to justice.  Initially, they were on different journeys.  One admits he joined the police force to “incarcerate, incarcerate, incarcerate.” The other says he wanted to solve the complex problems that prevent people from going to jail or hurting each other. When their paths met, they showed us that Black Lives Matter, even to police officers. In presentations throughout the community, they told us to comply with police officers. But they took the unusual step — for police officers —  and also told us to make official complaints if we feel we’ve been mistreated. Yes, King said ‘Anybody can be a leader because anybody can serve.’

“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.” These are the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.