Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Annual Awards

As part of our 2020 MLK Celebration, scheduled for January 16–22, 2020, EMU continues its tradition of recognizing individuals from within the University and surrounding community who exemplify the values and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year, a key part of the celebration is the presentation of three awards at the MLK Day President's Luncheon, to be held on January 20, 2020. These awards include the:

  • MLK Student Scholarship
  • MLK Humanitarian Award
  • Evans-Strand Peace Award

Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Scholarship

The purpose of the Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Award is to recognize an Eastern Michigan University student who has demonstrated:

  • A commitment to promoting respect and improving the quality of life for all people consistent with the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Service to Eastern Michigan University and/or the southeastern Michigan community.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship is made possible through an endowment fund. The 2020 award recipient will be honored at the Martin Luther King, Jr. President’s Luncheon. The $1000 scholarship will be credited to the recipient's student account for the winter 2020 semester.

  • 2020 recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Scholarship: Kyra Mitchell

    Kyra Mitchell is a young emerging leader, civil-rights activist, scholar and Saginaw, Michigan native.

    She is currently in her senior year at Eastern Michigan University majoring in accounting. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Kyra intends to use the knowledge she has gained to further develop financial literacy in communities of color and help black businesses thrive. In addition, Kyra plans to continue to push for black leaders to occupy spaces they are underrepresented in.

    She currently serves as the chairman of the National Youth Work Committee, president of the Michigan State Conference Youth and College Division, and vice president of Eastern Michigan University's Black Student Union and National Association of Black Accountants. She also serves as the director of Diversity and Community Outreach for Student Government. She is also a member of the Honor’s College where she is also a member of the Black Honors Student Organization.

    Throughout her time in the NAACP Kyra has worked with various units across her state and region to implement training, ensure units have the resources they need, and ultimately expand the NAACP’s reach to communities that need it. She uses her platform in the NAACP to advocate for women’s rights, criminal justice reform, black political power and many other areas. With this platform she was able to work with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Michigan Department of Education to create a racial equity program for township and city managers across the state of Michigan

    In 2019, Kyra received the Diversity and Inclusion Award from her school due to her efforts to change the culture on its predominantly white campus and educate minority students on the power they have.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award

The MLK Humanitarian Award recognizes individuals from within the University and surrounding community who exemplify the values and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The award will be presented to the recipient(s) at the Martin Luther King, Jr. President’s Luncheon. See a comprehensive list of past MLK Humanitarian Awards [PDF].

  • 2020 recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award: Governor Gretchen Whitmer

    Governor Gretchen Whitmer is a lifelong Michigander. She is a lawyer, an educator, former prosecutor, State Representative and Senator. She was the first woman to lead a Senate caucus. But the most important title she boasts is mom. Inspired by her family, she’s devoted her life to building a stronger Michigan for everyone.

    Governor Whitmer was elected to the House of Representatives in 2000 and elected to the Michigan State Senate in 2006 where she served as the Senate Democratic Leader. In the 2018 gubernatorial election, Governor Whitmer won all 83 counties in the primary and won the general election with 53 percent of the vote. Since taking her oath of office, she has put together the most diverse cabinet in our state’s history and has signed executive directives to clean up our drinking water, end discrimination in state government based on sexual orientation and gender identity, secure equal pay for equal work, and expand opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses.

    Governor Whitmer is committed to solving the problems Michiganders face every day. That means ensuring every Michigander has a great public education and a path to a good-paying job, every community has clean, safe drinking water, and everyone can drive to work or drop their kids at school safely, without blowing a tire or cracking a windshield.

    Governor Whitmer and her husband Marc Mallory live in Lansing with her two daughters, Sherry and Sydney. Her three stepsons, Alex, Mason and Winston all live in Michigan as well. Governor Whitmer earned a bachelor’s degree and law degree from Michigan State University. Born and raised in Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer is honored to serve as Governor of Michigan.

Evans Strand-Peace Award

The Evans-Strand Peace Award, modeled after the Nobel Peace Prize, annually recognizes an individual for significant contributions that advance the understanding and acceptance of diversity at EMU. Award recipients receive a $1000 cash award and an award medallion. Each year's award recipient will be listed on a plaque in a permanent campus location and honored at the EMU Martin Luther King, Jr. President's Luncheon.

  • 2020 recipient of the Evans-Strand Peace Award: Allanah Serenity Morales

    Allanah Serenity Morales is a Detroit native and junior at Eastern Michigan University. She is currently studying criminal justice with a concentration in legal studies. Since stepping foot on Eastern’s campus at 17 years old, she has been continuously active within the community. Allanah is the 2018 Miss Gold titleholder of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.’s Miss Black and Gold pageant and is currently president of the Latinx Student Association. She is also the fall 2018 initiate of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and the director of Student Services for EMU’s Student Government. In addition, she is currently a member of the Community Leaders Program for Google, where she works with small & local businesses to teach digital literacy.

    In 2019, Allanah was awarded the NPHC “Neo of the Year” award, the “Faith Award,” and received congressional recognition from congresswoman Debbie Dingell. Upon graduation, Allanah plans to pursue a master’s in Forensic Science. Her biggest aspiration in life is to one day create her own foundation designed to combat human trafficking and provide resources to survivors.

Members of the 2020 MLK Awards Committee

  • Douglas Baker
  • Christopher Barrick
  • Beth Currans
  • Julia Delagarza
  • Leighanne Denja
  • Doris Fields *Co-Chair
  • Chartice Hobbs
  • Donna Holubik
  • Dyann Logwood
  • Vicki Reaume *Co-Chair
  • Aaron Richardson
  • Angela Sarah
  • Roy Wilbanks
  • Chandler Wilson
  • Malverne Winborne

For more information on any of the awards, please contact the Office of Government and Community Relations at [email protected].