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Release Date: January 15, 2011

It's been 25 years since the US Congress recognized Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday as a national holiday. The killings that took place in Tucson, Arizona last weekend highlight the need for all of us to stop hating those who have different viewpoints.
In my opinion, one of the best ways to celebrate Dr. King's birthday is to attend the annual lunch sponsored by the African American Men of Westchester. I always walk out of the event feeling inspired and energized. Bill Carter, Commissioner of the Theodore Young Community Center is the master of ceremonies. Hope to see you Monday!
“In honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
The African American Men of Westchester, Inc. (“AAMW”) and United Way of Westchester - Putnam in conjunction with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Youth Awards Committee will hold its 10th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Legacy Awards celebration of young people ages 12 – 21 on Monday, January 17, 2011, at 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM at the Doubletree Hotel, 455 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY.  Admission and lunch is $25.00.
Seven (7) students were chosen as 2011 Youth Legacy awardees and they will be presented with cash prizes, and together with the nominees in the following categories will be recognized as positively impacting and/or contributing to the community in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as follows: 
 Social Action:  Samuel Washington III - 11th grade at Woodlands High School; Social Justice:  Raevyn Corynn Thigpen - 10th grade at Woodlands High School; Peace/Nonviolence: Justin Miller – 12th grade at New Rochelle High School; Vision: Brina Peebles – 11th grade at White Plains High School; Building Bridges: Charlotte Bilski – 11th grade and Charlie Erlikh - 12th grade at Horace Greeley High School; and Spirit of Love: Mark Vavolizza – 12th grade at Blind Brook High School. 
 "We believe there are a lot more good things going on with our young people than bad," said William Carter of White Plains and Co-chair of the Legacy Youth Awards Committee, and member of African American Men of Westchester, Inc.  "There's joy and prosperity in serving your community. There's intrinsic value in doing things in your community. They serve as an example of the commitment to civic and public deeds that reflect Dr. King's teachings.  It all starts at home."
 “Dr. King left an important legacy for us and for future generations, therefore we are committed to building knowledge and understanding of his life’s principles within the youth of today through the Legacy Youth Award” stated Sheila Abrams of White Plains and Co-chair of the Legacy Youth Awards Committee and Resource Development Associate with United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Melvin Burruss of Peekskill and president of African American Men of Westchester, one of the primary sponsors of the awards, said real change - revolutionary change - starts small and grows through dedicated individuals like the award recipients.
Sponsors of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Youth Awards are the African American Men of Westchester, Inc., United Way of Westchester-Putnam, Inc., Berkeley College, Cablevision, Con Edison, Entergy, Key Bank, Verizon, and Westchester County Board of Legislators.  Special presentations will be given by E. Douglas Dixon, Esq. and Rev. Dr. Priscilla Dixon; Melvin Burruss, Esq. and Diana Burruss, MA; and Wiley Harrison, President of BYB, Inc. 
To register and for additional information, please visit www.aamw or contact William Carter at 914-319-1335 or Sheila Abrams at 914-997-6700 x741. 
This Monday, January 17th, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the holiday recognizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While 43 years have passed since he was taken from us, his passion for peace and love, service on behalf of the powerless and work towards making our nation a more perfect union continues to inspire us to confront ignorance and aggression with non-violence.
The attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords along with the murders of the innocent last week brought President Obama to Tucson Wednesday night to stand with that community and our entire nation during this time of great sadness. The president's words and emotion made me recall Dr. King's own vision and dream for healing our country in some of its most troubling and darkest days. If you missed the president's address, watch it here.
To celebrate Dr. King's legacy, make the holiday a day of service and volunteer in your community. Visit the federal government's Corporation for National & Community Service website to see how you can get involved where you live. Here in Westchester, the Volunteer Center of United Way is sponsoring a day of service on Dr. King's birthday, January 15th. Click here for more information.

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