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Embodying the Spirit of MLK 

While the icy-cold weather put a halt to San Antonio’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. march on January 19, it was still a busy MLK weekend. Three San Antonio residents were recognized for their service and courage to the community. Since 1987, the San Antonio MLK Commission has honored San Antonians who embody MLK’s principles. 

Dr. Ron Kelley was given the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes a person whose record of personal achievement in the community reflects a strong commitment to human rights, equal educational opportunity and economic well-being for all. Dr. Ron Kelley currently serves as CEO of the National Mentoring Foundation, a nonprofit that mentors African-American males at schools and colleges throughout the United States. 

Gloria Ray received the Baha’i Unity of Humanity Award, which recognizes a person who makes an effort to unite people and work together for the betterment of the community. Ray is currently on the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees. 

Aissatou Sidime Blanton was honored with the Reverend Dr. R.A. Callies, Sr. Courage Award, which recognizes an individual, organization, or group whose record exhibits the courage to advance the principles of nonviolence and represent the values and human qualities of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The award is named after Callies because, among his many contributions to the community, he began one of the largest MLK Jr. marches in the nation. 

Blanton is on the executive boards of the San Antonio chapter of The Links, Incorporated and the San Antonio Ethnic Art Society. This past spring, she donated her kidney to help a stranger improve their life. In San Antonio, she is one of the few Black living organ donors to donate to a complete stranger. Most organ donations come from family members or people who recently died. 

Photo credit: Aissatou Sidime Blanton

Ebony Huerta Wells has over 25 years of writing and media experience. She was a former business journalist with a major newspaper and worked for other niche publications.

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