The King Center recognized our nation’s 42nd president, Bill Clinton, for his humanitarian work with The William J. Clinton Foundation, including his bipartisan efforts with the Clinton Global Initiative, his commitment to nonviolence, and tackling health issues like HIV/AIDS and childhood obesity. They presented him with one of the Center’s highest honors, the Salute to Greatness Award, at their annual Salute to Greatness Awards dinner on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, at 7 p.m. at Atlanta’s Hyatt Regency Hotel.
During his acceptance speech, Clinton gave a moving account of why he gives back. “I don’t deserve any credit. After the life I have had, what kind of person would I be if I didn’t try to give other people who grew up in limited circumstances the same life chances I did?” he said.
“People should be glorying in their youth and instead [they’re] looking for some way to blow themselves to smithereens because they have been convinced that God has something to do with a culture of constant anger and resentment,” Clinton said about the global conflicts based on religious differences.
The King Center CEO Dr. Bernice A. King adds, “We still have a choice today … nonviolent coalition or violent co-annihilation.”
Dr. M.L. King’s sister, Christine King Farris, who was a close aide in the Civil Rights Movement, the foundation of the King Center, and the establishment of the national King holiday, was also honored. She told her niece from the podium, “Your father and your mother would be very proud of you, and I am too.”
“The dinner is our primary fundraiser and provides an opportunity for The King Center to recognize an individual and a corporation that reflects excellence in leadership and a commitment to social responsibility in the spirit of my father,” King said.
Other award recipients recognized for carrying out Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy are the 2015 corporate honoree Kaiser Permanente for their outstanding philanthropic efforts and commitment to diversity in the workplace, including the service that their employees provide through the corporation’s Community Giving Campaign and two Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. (“Advancing Nonviolence through Generations of Exceptional Leadership”) awardees; Aidan Thomas Hornaday, 13, founder of Aidan Cares, for his commitment to helping those in need through philanthropic and humanitarian efforts, while “teaching a generation to give,” and encouraging parents to teach their children to give; and Harris Rosen, who established the Tangelo Park Program, “… because it is one of our nation’s most dynamic and creative philanthropic projects and is a powerful example of how focusing humanitarian efforts, in a single geographic location, helps to transform lives,” King explains.
(Photos by Robin Lori for Steed Media Service)