Monday, August 27, 2012

Four Sacramento leaders to receive MLK 365 award - Sacramento Bee

Four veteran community activists have won the Martin Luther King Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award for their commitment to public service and social justice.

Former Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin, longtime public servant Grantland Johnson, veteran immigrant activist May Lee and philanthropist Chevo Ramirez are being honored 6:30 - 9 p.m. Wednesday night at MLK 365's Champagne & Grits Banquet at the Croatian American Cultural Center, 3730 Auburn Blvd. in Sacramento.

Sam Starks, the director of MLK 365, which has been organizing Sacramento's annual MLK Day celebration for 31 years, said the recipients "epitomize ordinary people who have done extraordinary things and were responsible for the formation and growth of Sacramento's MLK Day celebration."

Rudin, the first female elected mayor of Sacramento, led the charge for development of Sacramento's light rail system and was instrumental in Sacramento's first MLK Observance in 1983, Starks said.

Johnson has served the people of Sacramento and California for nearly 30 years as a Sacramento city councilman and supervisor, regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service and Secretary of California's Health and Human Services, Starks said. "He among the first African Americans to serve in all four levels of government.".

Lee is the founder of the Asian Resources, a community organization connecting low-income immigrant and refugee communities to jobs and other resources. She also co-founded Health For All and was involved in the formation of My Sister's House and Sacramento's MLK March, Starks said. "She pioneered a one-stop agency serving a variety of needs ranging from health and welfare services to probation and jobs."

Ramirez, regional vice president of the Wells Fargo Foundation, manages and directs charitable contributions for the Northern California region, working closely with community organizations to determine local needs and opportunities for grant making, Starks said.

The banquet benefits MLK 365's "Challenge and Work Grants Fund," helping people who are re-entering the workforce, going back to school and and starting businesses, Starks said. "It ranges buying suits and shoes to books."

For tickets, contact 916-479-1967, or

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