Lieutenant Governor Abramson's Communications Office
Governor, Lt. Governor Participate in Celebration, Awards Ceremony to Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Press Release Date:  Thursday, January 12, 2012  
Contact Information:  Kerri Richardson
Terry Sebastian

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Steve Beshear and Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson today participated in the state’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration – honoring an Owensboro leader and more than 20 Kentucky students for their outstanding achievements. 

The Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission held the event – Exploring the King in You – to highlight the life of Dr. King and to honor individuals who embody the spirit and energy of the late civil rights leader.

“The legacy of Dr. King is one that very much lives on today and one that must live on though each of us,” Gov. Beshear said. “His mission remains not only relevant but also urgent and presents us with a challenge that we must answer.”

Roszalyn Akins, founder of the Carter G. Woodson Academy in Lexington, was guest speaker at the celebration, hosted by KET’s Renee Shaw.

Lt. Gov. Abramson presented the annual M. L. King Jr. Citizenship Award to Pamela Smith-Wright of Owensboro. The award is given to an individual who demonstrates leadership and achievement in the principles of racial equality, interracial harmony and economic justice.

Smith-Wright is Owensboro mayor pro tem and the first African-American to hold that position. She has been a dedicated civic board member and helped organize – and even participated in – the first MLK Celebration Parade in Owensboro.

“In short, she has helped to honor Dr. King and further his life’s work not just by the words she’s spoken but also by a lifetime of service,” Lt. Gov. Abramson said.

Twenty-two elementary, middle and high school students from across the Commonwealth were also honored and given U.S. savings bonds as winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. essay and visual art contests. Click here for a complete list of the winners.