HON­OR­ING MLK’S MEM­ORY, IM­PACT

Break­fast kicks off week­end de­voted to civil-rights icon

The Arizona Republic - - Front Page - MARK HENLE/THE REPUB­LIC

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

dreams.

“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.

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