13 honored for making community better

Viette Aikens organizes items from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 14th annual Picture Awards before Tuesday’s ceremony at Burke High School in downtown Charleston. Thirteen local residents were honored at the event.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s message should not be forgotten on the eve of what would have been his 83rd birthday, officials said Tuesday at an awards ceremony to honor locals for keeping King's philosophies alive.

"We must hit the streets again until justice rolls down," said the Rev. Alonzo Arthur Washington, speaker at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 14th annual Picture Awards at Burke High School. "One day, all of God's children will be one, and that day is at hand."

The awards started in 1998 under the auspices of Wendell Gilliard, who was then a newly elected Charleston city councilman. Gilliard, now a state representative, was slated to provide closing remarks at the ceremony but was unable to attend because the General Assembly reconvened in Columbia on Tuesday. Sen. Robert Ford was unable to attend for the same reason.

City Councilman James Lewis, chairman of this year's awards selection committee, and Charleston Mayor Pro Tem Dean Riegel presented the awards to 13 people, including Burke High student Darius Goodwin, cable TV show host Tammy McCottry Brown and Star Gospel Mission Executive Director the Rev. William K. Christian.

Other recipients were Julius Ascue, Edward J. Bryant III, Bishop Fred H. Moore, Ali Rahnamoon, Cynthia McCottry Smith, Creola Washington, Alonzo Haynes, Angenita Foster Owens, Robert "King David" Ross and Charles Tyler Jr.

In recognition of their work to improve the community and keep King's dream alive, the honorees were given a plaque and a large, framed black-and-white print of King.

The ceremony also included Military Magnet students escorting the recipients and a poetry and musical program about King by students from the Charleston Development Academy Charter School that drew a huge round of applause from the audience.

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or on Facebook.