CA State Sen. Mark Leno, Rep. Lynn Woolsey to be Honored by MHRC at MLK Jr. Award Dinner

Marin County’s Human Rights Commission Highlights Connections to Civil Rights Movement30th Anniversary Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  Award Dinner Jan. 19th.

Martin Luther King Jr., ‘The Little Rock 9,’ ‘Tuskegee Airman,’ and LGBT Education Bill SB 48 will all top this year’s renowned Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Marin Awards Dinner, while the Marin Human Rights Commission celebrates a special 30th Anniversary rendition of its annual award event.  Representatives, leaders and youth from Marin will be honored for their dedication and excellence to humanity and community.  While tickets are still available, this must attend event is expected to be sold out.

The MHRC evening  will be “Steeped in History & Drenched with Inspiration!”  Human Right’s Commissioner Melanie Nathan.

This year the Commission has produced a superlative program with awards that span the generational spectrum and touch the myriad of civil rights and social issues impacting the Marin community.

Openly Gay, state Senator Mark Leno, who last year successfully brought the controversial Educational Bill SB 48 into California’s legislation, will helm the agenda, delivering a short keynote address. The Senator will receive one of the three Commission awards for outstanding service to Marin. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, who is not seeking reelection in 2012, will also be honored, in absentia, with a similar award.

The evening, one of the most inspirational of all annual Marin events, will include civil rights activist Melba Beals, one of only 381 U.S. civilians to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. A faculty member at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, Ms. Beals will be honored for her historic role in the Civil Rights movement.

While most teenage girls in 1957 were listening to Elvis and Buddy Holly, Melba Beals faced the wrath of segregationists and the Governor of Arkansas, when together with 8 other African American teens she entered the white-only Central High School, setting off a firestorm, as The Little Rock 9” impacted the course of history.

In perfect tandem, 8 aspiring youth will hear Ms. Beals bear witness to times gone by and at the same time they will receive MLK Jr. Youth Awards for their own contribution to the community.  The young awardees include Brenda Ayala, Jamie Coleman, Pablo Landaverde, Edwin Martinez, Emerald Nau, Michael Sitzmann, Kayla Thompson, and Paulina Villalobos.

A special program award will be presented to the teen board of directors of the organization “Beyond Differences,” founded in memory of past MHRC posthumous honoree, Lili Rachel Smith.

Humanitarian awards will be presented to Elizabeth Emerson, Cio Hernandez, Caroline Kornfield and Darnell Roary.

With thanks to the generous contribution of Fair Housing of Marin, a profound bonus to the event is a rare color photographic exhibit from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. open housing marches in Chicago in 1965 and 1966, notably depicting years when the Marin Commission was formed.

The Commissioners will also provide a special tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, whose story will be fully presented in the Program and who will be represented in a feature film release by George Lucas the same week.

This much anticipated event which is usually sold out has expanded the venue for this year and  is being held at Embassy Suites, San Rafael on Thursday January 19th, from 5.30 PM. Tickets can be purchased from Jaime Powell at 415-473-6189 and are $40.00 per ticket.  Invitations and tickets can also be obtained through the website at

Sponsorship opportunities are still available for this important event. Kindly contact Melanie Nathan at

The Marin Human Rights Commission, established 1966 by the Marin County Board of Supervisors, seeks to eliminate prejudice, intolerance, and discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, gender, age, cultural background, sexual orientation and /or disability. The Commission meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 PM at the Marin County Civic, Room 410 B. The public is invited to attend. Complaints for the Commission can be submitted to 415-473-6189.

NOTE: THIS is taken from Commission’s Press Release and can be re-posted without Credit to this site!

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