SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- The 4th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Awards honored 12 individuals who have gone above and beyond to instill change in their community in the last year.
“They do things that are tangible, so when you say because of their involvement, look at what happened,” said Ronn Johnson, President and CEO, of the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services Center in Springfield.
“Being recognized for this award, I’m shocked,” said “changemaker” award recipient, Ralphael Desir. “Honestly, I’m shocked. You never know who’s watching, that’s what I was always taught. And I want to teach my son that, you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it.”
To ensure safety for all involved, the event was held over Zoom, as each awardee reflected about being a change-maker, fighting for social justice.
“Its something we don’t have today, if anyone tells you we do, they’re lying to you, said Edward Nunez, from NRG Real Estate Services,” a changemaker award recipient. “Its humbling to be recognized by an organization that has his name.”
This year’s theme was from Dr. King’s iconic message, “Time is always right, to do what’s right”, words these individuals live by.
“We’ve been fighting for civil rights in this country for a long time, and the fight continues,” said Zaida Govan of the Indian Orchard Citizens Council, a changemaker award recipient.
Instilling change with racial justice and equity can’t end here. The hope is that the event will inspire others to think about what they can do.
“That’s what we are talking about. As we hold an event like this to uplift individuals, doing great work but our biggest outcomes is two things,” said Johnson. “One is we are raising the conscious level of the community, so people say hmmm there’s something probably more I could be doing.”