HONORING MLK’S MEMORY, IMPACT
Breakfast kicks off weekend devoted to civil-rights icon
More than 1,000 people attended the Valley’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration breakfast Friday, kicking off a weekend of observances honoring the slain civil-rights leader. A number of longtime community activists were honored at the event, including Andrea Weeks Hardin (right), president and founder of the Arizona Dream Builder Foundation. She received the 2018 Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award. Goode (left) attended a segregated high school in Phoenix and went on to earn degrees from Arizona State University before becoming only the second African-American to serve on the Phoenix City Council.
At least four Arizonans are “Living the Dream.”
That is, the dream as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had it.
Joanna de’Shay, Warren Stewart Jr., Charlene Tarver and Garry Walters each received the Living the Dream Award on Friday as part of Arizona’s 2018 MLK Awards and Scholarship Breakfast in Phoenix.
Dream award recipients are chosen for their work to improve the quality of life of Phoenix residents by creating a socially just environment.
For de’Shay, executive director of Diversity Leadership Alliance, being recognized meant, “I have made some small impact and really towards the legacy for my kids, which is making Arizona a better place for them to grow up in.” She has for three years overseen programs of the Diversity Leadership Alliance, an organization that provides diversity training, leadership guidance and support to foster a more inclusive community.
As a single mother who is raising an autistic son, de’Shay said she hopes to inspire women of children with disabilities to continue to work and live their
“What did Oprah say? ‘Time’s up,’ “de’Shay said. “Time is up. I think this is the time for us to really push forward, and the only way we’re going to be able to do it is to do it together.”
Other Living the Dream Award recipients:
Warren Stewart Jr., founder and pastor of Church of the Remnant, which seeks to renew the broken and oppressed through gospel-centered teachings. He is also a member of groups that seek righteous responses to systemic injustice and encourage churches to start foster-care systems for children in group homes.
Charlene Tarver, president and CEO of Tarver Consulting Group LLC, a business and economic-development firm geared toward small and womenowned businesses. Tarver focuses on creating training opportunities and connections for professional women and diverse communities.
Garry Walters is the chairman for the State of Black Arizona. Walters was committed to finding more opportunities for Southwest Gas Corp., where he worked for 34 years until retiring in January 2016, to partner with minorities and small-business owners.
More than 1,000 people attended the breakfast at Phoenix Convention Center, which began with torch runners welcoming the 2018 MLK honorees, a performance of “Imagine” by the Betty Fairfax High School A Capella Chorus and several opening prayers offered by leaders from Interfaith and Community Faith.
“Your work is the life that reminds us that we can make our corner of the world a little bit better,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton told award recipients.
In addition to the Living the Dream Awards, the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award recognized one individual who has devoted lifelong efforts to defending civil rights and building bridges in the Phoenix community. The 2018 recipient was Andrea Weeks Hardin, president and founder of Arizona Dream Builder Foundation.
“It’s really an honor for me,” Hardin said in an interview with The Republic.
“I’m usually the background person. I’m usually the one that nobody sees, and I kind of just organize things.”
“It is truly humbling, and does energize me,” she added. “There is always still work to do.”
Hardin stressed justice in 2018 and advocated for people to get out and vote in order to make a change.