The maiden African Luther King summit held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, January 29, 2021, saw in attendance astounding individuals from all works of life, some of whom received the prestigious African Luther King Heroes Awards.
The awardees were selected based on their courage to lead social change and transformation, targeted at investment in youth and enterprise development with visible impact at grassroots levels while also mirroring Dr. King’s leadership and philosophy.
A.D. King Foundation, a US-based non-profit, advocating for youth empowerment, development, and non-violent social change strategies in keeping with the legacy of the social rights activist, this year awarded 10 extraordinary and outstanding Nigerians in recognition of their work.
Raquel Kasham Daniel, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Beyond the Classroom Foundation was awarded for her exceptional contributions working in underprivileged communities in Nigeria, her effort is targeted at promoting education for children, sexual and reproductive health for adolescent girls. Raquel’s new venture Nzuriaiki.com is constantly recruiting volunteers for organizations and her published books “FLOW: girls guide to menstruation” and “There Is A New Virus in Town” a coronavirus book for children is helping to demystify the problems.
Through her foundation, Raquel has been involved in projects aimed at alleviating the sufferings of the poor and vulnerable through the COVID-19 Food Relief Program which donated food items to over 3,000 families, 5,000 copies of the COVID-19 books have been distributed and 1,500 free sanitary pads to help fight period poverty during the pandemic.
Owolabi Williams, a Boys Development Advocate, Entrepreneur, Founder, and President of Boys Lead Foundation was awarded for his transformative selfless service equipping and empowering boys and young men of color, by mentoring them through his leadership clubs for boys.
Omotola Fawunmi, a Social Justice Advocate and Founder of Rebirth Hub Africa was awarded for her service to youths, especially women and girls in low-income communities.
Oludare Akinlaja was awarded for developing the skills of African youths to drive productivity and prosperity in the continent. Oludare Educator, Development Consultant, and Managing Partner of Oludare Akinlaja Research and Development Company have been at the forefront of driving quality education and lifelong learning through the Yadaversity, a school using a multidisciplinary approach to train the young people in Africa.
Other awardees are Olusola Owonikoko, Programs Director, Project Enable; Mobolaji Ogunlende, Founder of Real Act of Kindness Foundation; Aisha Yesufu, Human Rights Activists; Wale Ajani, Tech Entrepreneur, and CEO, Entrepreneurship & Leadership Business Academy; Leadership Business Academy; Charles O’Tudor, Public Speaker and Principal Consultant of ADSTRAT Branding, and Adebunmi Akinbo, Secretary, Association for Information and Communication Technology on Local Content (ICTLOCA).
“Specifically, we wanted people who have made contributions in the areas of promoting peace, education, improving communities in Africa and have demonstrated leadership and volunteerism like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself,” said Dr. Babs Onabanjo, Executive Director, of A.D. King Foundation Atlanta.
Mr. Stephen Oguntoyinbo Executive Director of Alarinka Communications and partner with A.D. King Foundation stated that the goal of the award is to encourage more young Nigerians to participate in community building.
Each year, the organization will recognize individuals who demonstrate Dr. King’s personality and legacy through their dedication and contributions in Africa and these 10 awardees are representative of the plethora of young people who devote time and energy to improve the lives of others and who are beacons of light within their communities.
The summit was attended by Dr. Naomi Barber Luther King and Dr. Melinda H. Barrow, Founder, 6th Region Global Chamber of Commerce, and Mrs. Aisha Yesufu, Human Rights Activist in commemoration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, held annually on January 18, and observed across the globe after it was recognized as a federal holiday in 1983.
Martin Luther King, Jr is famous for his contributions to the American civil rights movement in the 1960s and most distinctly his “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered in 1963, in which he spoke of his dream of the United States that is void of segregation and racism.