Posted by on May 07, 2014 in Blog

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Arab American Institute Foundation recognized Martin Luther King III for his work and his family’s legacy at the 16th annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala on April 25, 2014. The award recognized the pioneering vision and leadership of the King family, including Martin Luther King III, who has carried the torch lit by both of his parents by dedicating himself to non-violent social action to rid the world of social, political, and economic injustice.

DC entrepreneur and activist Andy Shallal presented the award to Martin Luther King III. Shallal thanked the King family “for their sacrifice, for their vision, and for making our country live up to the values upon which it was founded.”

“Dr. King’s children, including Martin Luther King III, remain a testament to the power of activism in combating injustice, poverty and inequality and how much we can achieve when we act.”

Prior to the special recognition, the Arab American Institute presented a tribute to the work of the King Family:

Martin Luther King III accepted the award on behalf of his mother and father and spoke on the “unfinished work” still needed to fulfill the goals left behind by his parents. “I am so thankful for my personal relationship with [AAI President] Jim Zogby and for all his team have done over the years to continue to raise the consciousness of this nation and the world around issues that we still have a lot of work to do on,” King said.

“Dad and Mom wanted to eradicate what Dad called the triple evils: poverty, racism, militarism and violence,” King said. He highlighted the important progress made on these issues in the past 50 years, but also told the audience: “We can and we must do better…we must continue to roll up our sleeves and work to make the world better.”

Watch Martin Luther King III’s address:

The Arab American Institute Foundation was honored to present the award to Martin Luther King III for his commitment to human rights and his family’s work and great sacrifice. Looking back over the past century, we also remember the contribution of Arab Americans like Ralph Johns who helped stage the Greensboro Four sit-in at Woolworth, which sparked a national movement to fight segregation. We also look toward future challenges facing our nation in our continued common struggle for civil rights and justice.



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