Nomination deadline extended for 2024 ‘Living the Dream’ awards

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission, in collaboration with the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA), is seeking nominations of individuals and organizations for the 2024 “Living the Dream” Awards.

Members of the public are invited to nominate candidates for the awards. Completed nomination packets for individuals or organizations must be postmarked by Friday, Dec. 15, 2023, before 5 p.m. Completed nomination packets can be delivered by U.S. postal service, email or fax.

Send completed nominations and supporting information to:
Martin Luther King, Jr. State Holiday Commission
“Living the Dream” Awards
1900 Kanawha Blvd. East, Building 1, Room 9R
Charleston, WV 25305

The awards will be presented Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, as part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observance.

“The ideals of freedom, equality and justice inspire people around the world. Those ideals still need champions to stand up for them today,” said Jill Upson, Commission chair and executive director of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA). “Those who follow Dr. King’s example by using their time, talent, and resources in service of others deserve to be honored.”

The nomination form is available online here. 

Since its inception in 1986, the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission has recognized individuals and organizations across West Virginia through its “Living the Dream Awards.” These awards were developed to honor West Virginians who live by the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and who continue his work today.

Five awards are given to individuals who best exemplify – through action or personal traits – the principles and ideals characterizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his pursuit of social change. Any person, regardless of race, color, or creed may be nominated.

The individual award categories are:

  • The Advocate of Peace Award: This award honors a person who has been an advocate of social change in a non-violent way.
  • The Sharing of Self Award: This award recognizes a person who has rendered service to others in the public or private sector.
  • The Human and Civil Rights Award: This award recognizes a person who has been actively involved in the pursuit of equality for others and is an advocate for social change.
  • The Scholarship Award: This award honors a person who has made significant contributions in the area of education.
  • The Governor’s Living the Dream Award: This award is the highest honor that is presented to an individual by the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission. This award is approved by the Governor of West Virginia and is given to a person who best exemplifies all the characteristics of justice, scholarship, sharing of self, human and civil rights, and advocacy of peace. The recipient must have a recognizable sense of civic awareness and public service.

In addition to these individual awards, each year the Commission recognizes up to three service organizations across West Virginia for placement on the “Living the Dream Service Organization Honor Roll.” Qualifying organizations must have demonstrated one or more of Dr. King’s principles.

Service Organization Honor Roll: Qualified organizations may be honored for demonstrating one or more of the principles for which Dr. King stood: the promotion of human and civil rights, aiding under-served communities, the promotion of tolerance, and resolving conflict in a nonviolent manner.

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