Student Presenter for the Celebration Speaker

Student Presenter for the Celebration Speaker

Do you want to be part of the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration? Do you want to be the Celebration Speaker Presenter? If chosen you will introduce Marc Lamont Hill this year’s speaker by sharing his achievement and words that you provided in your submission. You will give a 2 minute introduction of the speaker which includes highlights from your submission the selected student will also sit in the front row at the celebration.

– Open to any current ESF/ Syracuse University Undergraduate or Graduate.
– Student must be in good standing with either ESF or Syracuse University
– If student is selected student must attend the following:
– Dress Rehearsal Jan 30, 2016 at the Carrier Dome (time will share later)
– Celebration Dinner January 31, 2016 at 4:00pm at the Carrier Dome
– A ticket will be provide to this student at no cost.
– Student must attend the celebration on January 31, 2016 in either business or semi-formal attire.

Submission Information:
– Submit a three minute video and a one page essay answering the following question:

How does Marc Lamont Hill his work encompass this year’s theme of Remember. Celebrate. Act: Activism and Agency for the Future

– One page essay 12 point, Times New Roman, Double Space.
– All submissions should be emailed to Catherine Kellman at by Dec. 4th 2015 at Midnight.

– Students will be notified by December 16, 2015 via email on their status.

If any questions please contact Catherine Kellman at

Community Event : Youth Unsung Hero Awards


The Syracuse University Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee in collaboration with Syracuse City School District, Parent University, Onondaga Community College, and Maker hall Fair is looking for students who have made a positive difference in the lives of others in their schools, and exemplify the teaching of Dr. King. The award will be presented during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration to be held Saturday, January 30, 2016 in one of the Syracuse City Schools.

An exemplary student (K-12) who exemplifies the spirit, life, and teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Past recipients have been recognized for their leadership, scholarship, advocating for peace and justice, building bridges between students, raising funds or awareness for a cause, etc.
We seek your schools help in identifying recipients for this award. We are looking for youth who have made a positive difference in the lives of others.

Awardees from each school will receive:
– Framed certificate
– Special book related to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Recognized at the Community Celebration on January 30, 2016; and your name will be printed in the program booklet of the Dr. King Dinner Celebration held at the Dome on Sunday, January 31, 2016.

Nominations can be submitted online at or email to
Thank you for your time and contributions that enable the University to recognize outstanding members of the Central New York community.

Please answer the below question. Be as specific as possible on how the nominee’s work exemplifies the spirit, life and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. Any Additional supporting materials may be included.

1. How does this student embody Dr. King’s legacy?
2. What contributions have your nominee made to impact their community?
3. Why should the nominee be publicly recognized for their accomplishments?
4. Please give us three words that mark your nominee as a hero.
5. What does your nominee do that makes his/her class, neighborhood, community … or even the world … a better place?
6. What is it about your nominee that gives you real hope for the future?
7. Close your eyes and think of your nominee. What makes this individual shine in your mind’s eye?

Applications at due by December 18, 2015
Email to Marissa L Willingham at

Application Below:
MLK Youth Nomination Form for Unsung 2016

Complete online: Youth Unsung Hero Application

Tickets Now On Sale For MLK Celebration


Tickets for the 31st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration are now on sale. Student tickets are $15 and can be purchased through a meal plan at dining halls. Students without a meal plan can purchase at Schine Box Office. Tickets for employees, staff and the general public will be sold only through the Schine Box Office and are available on an individual basis ($30) or in blocks of 10 ($300). Cash, credit, or interdepartmental ID, may be used. All ticket sales are being handled through Shine Box Office, and tickets will be available for pickup at the box office at the time of purchase or at the Carrier Dome Gate A on the evening of the event. Please note that all tickets are for general seating. Event organizers encourage attendees, in the spirit of Dr. King, to allow for a wide variety of people to sit at each table. This will encourage attendees to meet new people who may in turn broaden the perspective of all who attend.

Phone: 315-443-4517
Office: Atrium of Schine Student Center

Marc Lamont Hill Named Keynote Speaker

Marc Lamont Hill, Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College and a leading journalistic voice in social justice, will be the keynote speaker for the 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the University on Jan. 31, 2016. The yearly MLK Celebration at the Carrier Dome is the largest University-sponsored event in the United States to honor King’s legacy.

Marc Lamont Hill
Marc Lamont Hill

Hill serves as host of HuffPost Live and BET News, as well as a political contributor for CNN. He is the former host of the nationally syndicated television show “Our World” on Black Enterprise and political contributor to Fox News Channel. An award-winning journalist, Hill has received numerous awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, GLAAD and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Hill is a founding board member of My5th, a non-profit organization devoted to educating youth about their legal rights and responsibilities. He is also a board member and organizer of the Philadelphia Student Union. He works closely with the ACLU Drug Reform Project, focusing on drug informant policy. Over the past few years, Hill has actively worked on campaigns to end the death penalty and to release numerous political prisoners. In 2011, Ebony Magazine named him one of America’s 100 most influential black leaders.

MLK Celebration Chair Catherine Kellman called Hill one of the leading voices of activism of this generation. “He was chosen by the committee because of his ability to connect with our students,” says Kellman. “He challenges young people worldwide to become involved in their own way, to truly think globally and act locally. The theme of this year’s event is remember, celebrate and act: activism and agency for the future. The focus is on activism as a nation our students have created or participated in movements to create change in. We hope our students will use Hill’s message as they embark on their own journey to remember, to celebrate and to act.”

The MLK Celebration not only includes the event at the Carrier Dome. It’s a weekend filled with activities and community-wide involvement organized by the City of Syracuse, the University and the MLK committee. On Saturday, Jan. 30, there will be the community event which is a day of educational workshops and recreational activities, as well as an awards ceremony for K-12 students.

On Sunday, Jan. 31, dinner precedes the program at 4:30 p.m., with doors opening at 4 p.m. Tickets for employees, staff and the general public will be sold through the Schine Box Office, and are available on an individual basis ($30) or in blocks of 10 ($300). Cash, credit or interdepartmental ID may be used. New this year: all tickets are for general seating.

Student tickets are $15 and can be purchased through a meal plan at dining halls. Students without a meal plan can purchase at Schine Box Office as well.

The evening program, which includes an address by Hill, the presentation of the 2016 Unsung Hero Awards, music by a community choir and entertainment by student performers, begins at 5:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. For questions, call Hendricks Chapel at 315-443-5044.

American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and Communication Access Real-Time will be available at the event. To request dietary or other accommodations, contact Ginny Yerdon at Hendricks Chapel at 315-443-2901 or

2018 Unsung Hero Awards Seeking Nominations

Do you know individuals in the Central New York community who have made a positive difference in the lives of others, but who are not widely recognized for their efforts?

Syracuse University is seeking nominations for the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Unsung Heroes Award, to be presented at the University’s annual celebration dinner on Jan. 28, in the Carrier Dome. The nomination deadline is Oct. 9. Continue Reading

MLK Community Celebration 2014 held at Frazer School

The Syracuse University Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee will hold its annual Celebration of Arts, Culture and Education in the Syracuse Community on Saturday, Jan. 26, from noon-4 p.m. at Frazer K-8 School, 741 Park Ave. in Syracuse.

The event is free and open to the public, and members of the Syracuse and neighboring communities are invited and encouraged to attend.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Yesterday’s Dream, Tomorrow’s Promise,” aligned with the 28th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration that was held in SU’s Carrier Dome on Jan. 19.

The community celebration will include workshops featuring various forms of artistic, physical and verbal expression, and information tables showcasing cultural and educational opportunities and resources in the community.

The event will begin at noon with workshops and information tables. At 1:30 p.m., the performance piece will begin with a welcome by Marissa L. Willingham, program associate in SU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and chair of the community celebration.

El-Java Williams Abdul-Qadir, director of Syracuse University’s South Side Innovation Center, will be the keynote speaker.

The program will include performances by SU’s Black Celestial Choral Ensemble (BCCE); Dance Theater of Syracuse; Verbal Blend Poetry Program and the Underground Poetry Spot; Nottingham High School and SU’s Break Dance teams; La Casita’s Bomba y Plena Dance Troupe; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and YAT Pack.

Twenty-one deserving young people will be honored as the 2013 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unsung Heroes for making a positive difference in the lives of others and exemplifying King’s teachings.

The students who will be honored and their schools include Asmae Aitnajim, Nottingham High School; Jaycia Brunson, Frazer K-8 School; Anthony Davis, LeMoyne Elementary School; Gemini Doebler, Meacham Elementary School; Petragaye Eccleston, Westside Academy at Blodgett; Nicole Graine, Hughes Pre-K-8 School; Shamer Nek’o Hawkins, Delaware Academy School; Amina Kilpatrick, Manlius-Pebble Hill School; Peaches Marks, McKinley-Brighton Elementary School; Nadir McCray, Nottingham High School.

Also being honored are Nazaida Melendez, Salem Hyde Elementary School; Kaela Newby, Van Duyn Elementary School; Jahlia Peterson, Huntington K-8 School; Ailani Pierce, Roberts Pre-K-8 School; Leah Tucker, Nottingham High School; Samantha Turnquest, Southside Academy; Michael Vu, Porter Elementary School; Andie Williams, Franklin Elementary School; Yhadia Wilson, Dr. King Elementary School; Malik Zachery, Ed Smith School; and Alysa Zinkovitch, H.W. Smith K-8 School.

Unsung Heroes Honored at MLK Celebration

The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Unsung Hero Awards were presented to four members of the Syracuse University and greater Syracuse communities during the University’s 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, “Remember. Celebrate. Act.” The event will be held Sunday, Jan. 18, in the Carrier Dome.

The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Unsung Heroes are, from left, Karaline Rothwell, Mable Wilson, Ronald James-Terry Taylor and Dajaveon Bellamy.
The 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Unsung Heroes are, from left, Karaline Rothwell, Mable Wilson, Ronald James-Terry Taylor and Dajaveon Bellamy.

The awards are presented annually to people who, in the spirit of King’s “beloved community,” have made a positive difference in the lives of others but who are not widely recognized for their efforts.

This year’s Unsung Hero Award recipients are Dajaveon Bellamy, Ronald James-Terry Taylor, Mable Wilson and Karaline Rothwell.

Dajaveon Bellamy—Community Youth Award
Dajaveon Bellamy, 15, a student at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, has been diagnosed within the autism spectrum of a learning disability. He continues to push through challenges and stigmatism though, says Jacqueline Spears, who nominated him for the award. “He continues to pursue building his character and helping others along the way,” says Spears.

“Although Dajaveon struggles with socialization, he continues to push through to gain strength and develop his identity.”

Bellamy has been a karate student for three years and is one belt away from receiving a black belt. He also serves as a lead team member for karate demonstrations and is a member of the Abundant Life Christian Center’s Velocity Youth Ministries.

In the community, he has gone above and beyond to help those in need. Over the past year, Bellamy has collected toiletries for Catholic Charities’ men’s homeless shelter in downtown Syracuse. He secured a commitment from a local organization to provide a meal once a month at the shelter, and continues to seek sponsorship for daily meals there. He is also collecting men’s gloves, hats and socks to be distributed during the cold weather season. He has also collected school supplies for the Africa Bound organization.

“As a young teen, Dajaveon exemplifies going above and beyond for the brotherhood of humanity,” says Spears.

Ronald James-Terry Taylor—Syracuse University Student
Ever since he set foot on the Syracuse University campus as a freshman in 2011, Ronald James-Terry Taylor has worked to be involved and make a difference. That year, he joined the Multicultural Empowerment Network (MEN), a personal and social development program for men of color at Syracuse University offered through the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

“As a freshman, Ronald was the rare student who had the time management skills to excel in the classroom while also thriving in his extracurricular pursuits,” says James K. Duah-Agyeman, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), and Huey Hsiao, associate director of OMA, who jointly nominated Taylor for the award. “Ronald’s summa cum laude grade point average speaks for itself and demonstrates his commitment to personal excellence. However, what impresses us the most about Ronald is his modesty and selfless actions. His extracurricular interests are not just about personal gain, but demonstrate a passion for service to others less fortunate and to social justice.”

Taylor started a mentorship program at the Wilson Park Community Center in 2011. He serves as a role model and mentor for the men of color on campus through MEN, and has participated in the Institute for Responsible Citizenship. He interned for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans in 2014. He has organized numerous events on campus to bridge gaps and start dialogue. Most recently, he was a prominent student voice behind a University-wide open forum on diversity and inclusion.

Taylor, of Hempstead, N.Y., is a senior majoring in political science and policy studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a 2015 Senior University Class Marshal. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Creations Dance Company and the Black Celestial Choral Ensemble.

Mable Wilson—Community Adult Award
Mable Wilson started gardening while growing up in the home of her foster parents in White Plains, N.Y. The garden gave her respect for the soil, the ability to produce food, and a sense of peace. Planning each year’s garden, and developing the skill of strategizing, helped her to win a scholarship to Marymount College, where she was one of the first African American students at the school. There, she learned to me more intentional in her approach to advocacy and community organizing.

Concerned that many families in Syracuse do not have enough healthy food to eat, Wilson helped to start and rehabilitate the West Newell Street Community Garden, which grows fresh vegetables for neighborhood families and provides hands-on experience for young people. She then helped to organize Syracuse Grows, a coalition of gardeners; professionals from Cornell Cooperative Extension, Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; community gardens and supporters to promote food production in the City of Syracuse.

Wilson is a key member of the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse (ACTS) Task Force, and led an initiative to bring attention to the problem of the lack of a full-service grocery store on the South Side of Syracuse. “Mable has become a one-person support center,” says the Rev. Earl Arnold, who nominated her for the award. “If you want to connect with anyone who works in the grocery, food advocacy or nutrition communities, ask Mable. Her straightforward, calm but consistent advocacy technique has made her friends throughout the food system.”

Wilson is currently working on a partnership between local organizations to sponsor a symposium this year to educate more people on the possibilities of urban gardening.

Karaline Rothwell—SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Staff Member

Outside of being a mother and working full-time as an admissions advisor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Karaline Rothwell dedicates countless hours to making Syracuse’s Near West Side, where she lives, a better place.

Rothwell is co-chair of the Westside Residents Coalition, and has worked to bring understanding, action and advocacy to the issues that negatively affect the neighborhood. “Most people would give up in the face of what seems to be an unbeatable battle against poverty, class and race, but Karaline doesn’t waiver, even when many people in the neighborhood assume she is an outsider,” says Isaac Rothwell, her husband, who nominated her for the award.

This year, Rothwell played a key role in bringing awareness to a neighborhood issue of syringe litter, a byproduct of the heroin epidemic. Bothered by the system’s inaction in dealing with the issue, Rothwell organized a group of neighbors to go block to block, distributing information about the need to avoid discarded syringes and to contact authorities for proper disposal. She also organized a litter cleanup campaign and worked with city officials on the proper protocol for response to calls from the neighborhood for syringe cleanup.

She also oversaw the effort to harness funding and manpower to install new landscaping at a veterans memorial in Skiddy Park.

“The spirit I saw in MLK is what I have always seen in Karaline,” says her husband. “She seeks justice and knows the truth, determination and non-violent effort/confrontation will always prevail if you never give up and your cause is truly just.”