Four individuals with extensive records of serving as community leaders will be honored on January 17 at the 28th annual MLK Awards Breakfast, "Stand Up for Justice."
The breakfast kicks off at 7 a.m. at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 North Third Street.
Lieutenant Colonel Allen Kirksey is receiving the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award. The award's namesake served for 22 years on the Phoenix City Council and earned a reputation for promoting social and economic justice.
Among Kirksey's achievements:
- More than 20 years of volunteer service in the Roosevelt School District, Phoenix Union High School District and South Phoenix Missionary Baptist Church
- Mentors at-risk youth in the South Phoenix Community
- Serves as military liaison for Arizona Operation StandDown
- Serves as a volunteer for Mentor Kids USA
- Annual participant of the Read Across America campaign in the Roosevelt School District
- Founding member of the Air National Guard, South Mountain School of Aerospace Magnet and Airframe and Powerplant mentoring programs
- Former chairman of the South Mountain High School Business/Education Partnership Board and the South Mountain High School Aerospace Magnet Advisory Board
- Created a young men's mentoring program at Percy L. Julian Elementary School
- Served as a mentor for the South Phoenix Missionary Baptist Church Boys to Young Men Mentoring Group
There are three recipients of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Living the Dream Award, an honor given to those who have demonstrated lifelong commitments to creating a compassionate and socially just society.
Jason Green, Jennifer Longdon, and Robert Sherman were selected for embodying MLK's ideas through their personal commitment to human relations and justice.
- Principal organizer of the Arizona Black AIDS Task Force and served as chairman for two years
- Founder of United Gay Informed Men of African Descent (UGIMA) a local nonprofit organization that holds weekly discussion groups to help LGBTQ men stay informed on the issues that impact their community
- Member of the Arizona ACLU board of directors
- Board member for Arizona Advocacy Network and This Is H.O.W. -- a halfway house for members of the transgender community
- Author of The ABCs of Coming Out
Longdon's résumé of service includes:
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- Created Mosaic Realty Group at Prudential Arizona Properties to help people with physical limitations find homes
- Past chairwoman of the Mayor's Commission on Disability Issues
- Volunteers as a peer mentor for Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL)
- Competed in two half-marathons and raised $40,000 for spinal cord injury research
- Worked to defeat legislation that would allow guns in college dorms and classrooms, the repeal of gun-free zones around K-12 schools and a bill that would have eliminated the criminal penalty for celebratory gunfire
- Has enhanced the accessibility of polling places in Maricopa County
- Appointed by the Governor to the Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council
- Founder of the Arizona African Association -- an organization that creates closer relationships between the Phoenix and African communities
- President of the Liberian Association and conference organizer
- Worked with hundreds of refugees over the past 30 years to assimilate in the Phoenix community and culture
- Served as an advisory board member for the state and local government regarding refugee concerns