"Making Equality A Reality"



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King Federal Holiday


"Living the Dream"


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       In observance of the King Federal Holiday, CORE-The Congress of Racial Equality host an annual Ambassadorial Reception and Awards Dinner in New York City. This event has grown to become one of the largest events in the country honoring Dr. King with more than 2,000 people from all walks of life attending each year. On these occasions we seek to bring together the most diverse elements --internationally and domestically--to reflect on how far we have come and commit to even greater progress in the areas of, world peace, justice and brotherhood. We also use these occasions to recognize individuals, who through their words and actions, have helped to further equality.


       The Act creating the holiday was passed after more than sixteen years of effort by countless friends and supporters of  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Support for the legislation came from all walks of life -- from members of Congress, the White House, business and labor, from civil rights and religious groups -- and, most important, from those individuals who have worked continuously to make his dream a reality.


       Congress set aside the third Monday of January as the official Federal Holiday, Martin Luther King, Jr's actual birthday is January 15th.  According to the Act, "the holiday should serve as a time for Americans to reflect on the principles of racial equality and nonviolent social change espoused by Dr. King.


       The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission has adopted "Living The Dream" as the official theme for celebrating this country's newest national holiday.  The theme expresses the message and inspiration Dr. King generated among Americans in his dream and what that dream awakened in America.        


       CORE's first King Holiday Celebration was held in 1984--one year before the official holiday went into effect. Over the years, CORE's King Holiday Celebration has attracted the support and participation of leaders in the business, celebrity, diplomatic, civic, entertainment, religious and philanthropic communities. In 2002, the organization dedicated the event to the victims and heroes of the September 11th terrorist "Attack on America". We honored the Policemen, Firefighters and EMS workers who lost their lives in the World Trade Center while trying to save others. We also honored the crews of the 4 airplanes that the terrorist used. This award was accepted by Ms. Melonie Homer, widow of Captain J. Homer, co-pilot of United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania.  Howard Lutnick, President of Cantor Fitzgerald, Inc., who lost more that 400 employees, accepted an award on behalf of those who perished when the World Trade Center collapsed and Nino Vendome, owner of Nino's restaurant in lower Manhattan, who opened his kitchen to feed thousands of rescue workers involved in the recovery effort for free, accepted an award on behalf of the thousands of volunteers. The NYPD Pipes & Drums band performed Amazing Grace in a special tribute to the victims and heroes of that tragic event. Mayor Bloomberg presented CORE Chairman, Roy Innis with a special Proclamation.


       Individuals who have Chaired or participated in the event include: First Lady, Laura Bush, who delivered the keynote speech at the January 2003 event and Senate Majority Leader, Dr. Bill Frist (2003). From the business community: Michael Armstrong, Chairman & C.E.O. of A T & T (1999); John Chalsty, Chairman & C.E.O. of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (1996); Michael Jordan, Former Chairman of Westinghouse\CBS and Chairman of the United Negro College Fund (1996); Nobel Peace Prize winner, Norman Borlaug (2000), William Lavin, Chairman of Woolworth Corporation (1994); Richard Jalkut, President of NYNEX-NY (1994). Danny Burke, Former President of Capital Cities/ABC (1989); Robert Wright, President & C.E.O. of NBC, Inc.; Roger Werner, former Chairman of ESPN (1991); Paola Costa, Chairman of Novartis Pharmaceuticals (2004); Bob Dubrish, President & C.E.O., Option One Mortgage Corp. (2004); Ray Gilmartin, Chairman of Merck & Company, Inc.(2004); Hugh Grant, Chairman & C.E.O. of Monsanto (2005); Rich Bagger, Vice-President of Pfizer, Inc. (2006) and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, H.E. John Bolton (2007).


       From the diplomatic community: H.E. Thomas Pickering, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1992); former U.S. Ambassador to Italy, Maxwell Rabb (2000); H.E. David Peleg, Ambassador to the United Nations from Israel (1997); H.E. Hisashi Owada, (1995) Ambassador to the United Nations from Japan and H.E. Sergei Lavrov, Ambassador to the United Nations from the Russian Federation (1997)


       From the music, film, sports and entertainment industries: Jerry Lewis (1991), Alan King (1990), Tony Randall (1994), Norman Brokow, Chairman & C.E.O. of the William Morris Agency (1998); Sol Kerzner, Chairman & C.E.O. of Sun International (1998). Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairman of Miramax Films (1996); director Martin Scorsese; TV personality, Florence Henderson (2000); actors Frank Sinatra (1990), Kirk Douglas (1994), Charlton Heston (1991), Gregory Peck (1993); Paul Sorvino (1996); Roger E. Mosley (2000) and Anthony Quinn (1992); Clive Davis, Chairman & C.E.O. of Arista Records (1990); recording artist Meli'ssa Morgan (1994); Robert "Kool" Bell from Kool & the Gang (1992); actress Clarice Taylor from the "Cosby Show" (2000);  Recording Group, Blue Magic (2001); World Famous Latino Group, Projecto Uno (2001); boxer Roberto Duran (1995); Francis Preston, President of BMI, Inc. (1991); recording artist Regina Belle (1992); WWOR News Anchor Brenda Blackmon (1999); actress Jane Fonda (1998); boxing promoter Don King (1998); former Miss. America Suzette Charles (1992); Morton Gould, Chairman of ASCAP (1992), Tony LoBianco (1993); actress Eartha Kitt (1995); legendary sportscasters Howard Kossell (1992) and Burt Sugar (1999); Henny Youngman (1993); Boxing great, Sugar Ray Leonard (1993) football Hall-of-Famer, Lawrence "LT" Taylor (1995); comedian/actor George Wallace (2003); American Idol winner, Ruben Studdard (2004); R & B Recording Artist, Leylah Hathaway, (2005); the "Singing Policeman", Danny Rodriguez (2005) and TV & Radio talk show personality, Sean Hannity (2005); The cast of the hit Broadway Musical "The Color Purple" produced by Oprah Winfrey (2007); Actress Lynn Whitfield (2008); Legendary Singer, Pat Boone (2009).


       From the civic and labor communities: Presidential Candidate, Senator Orin Hatch (2000); Secretary of HUD and Vice-Presidential candidate, Jack Kemp (1997), Jack Barry, International President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (1993); businessman and civil rights worker Joseph Lovece, Jr. (1998); Chairman of the RNC, Jim Nicholson (2000); Chairman of Fugazy International, William "Bill" Fugazy; artist Peter Max (1995); Cindy Adams & Joey Adams (1995); attorney Barry Slotnick (1990); New York's Mayor Rudy Guiliani and wife Donna Hanover (1995); NYC Council Speaker Peter Vallone (1999) State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz and Michael Thomas, Councilman from the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Tribal Nation (1996).


       The list of Honorees includes several notables such as: Nobel Peace Prize laureates Elie Wiesel (1990) and Dr. Norman Borlaug (2005); former Secretary of State James Baker (1992); Secretary Generals of the United Nations Javiar Perez de Cuellar (1991) and Boutrus Boutrus Ghali (1997); Under-Secretary General of the U.N. Ibrahim Gambari (2000); Rev. Leon Sullivan (2001); former Governors Thomas Kean of New Jersey (1990) and the first African- American elected Governor, Douglas Wilder of Virginia (1995); former LA County Prosecutor, Marcia Clark (1996); Civil Rights veteran & Chairman of Innercity Broadcasting, Percy Sutton (1999); Neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Carson; desert storm hero Lt. Gen. Calvin Waller; the first African-American female astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison; music and entertainment legends Whitney Houston (1990), B.B. King (2001); Patti LaBelle (1990), Janet Jackson (1995), Dionne Warwick (1992), Nancy Wilson (1993), Michael Bolton (1996), Leonard Bernstein (1991), Charlie Pride (1993), Mitch Miller (1995), Leslie Uggams (1994), Ashford & Simpson (1997), Brandy (2000) and Toni Braxton (1999); film and stage legends Richard Pryor (1994), Morgan Freeman (1991), Robert DeNiro (1993), Audrey Hepburn (1993), Oliver Stone (1992), Susan Lucci (1994), James Earl Jones (1996), Gordon Parks (2000) and Samuel L. Jackson (1998); sports legends Willie Mays (1991), Roy Jones, Jr. (1996), World Heavyweight Champion Evander Holyfeld (1998) and Muhammad Ali (1992); Olympic Champions Carl Lewis (1997) and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1993); media giants Ted Turner (1998), Bryant Gumbel (1990), Howard Rubenstein (1990), Bernard Shaw (1993), Connie Chung (1996), Jazz Legend Roy Ayers (2003), Hero NY Police Officer Richard O'Neill (2003) Baseball Legend Hank Aaron (2003) Mother of the modern day civil rights movement, Mrs Rosa Parks (2003); Chairman of the American Conservative Union, David Keene (2004); California Supreme Court Justice, Janice Rogers Brown (2004); Special Assistant to President Bush, Mr. Karl Rove (2005); and Iraq war hero, Brigadier General Vincent Brooks (2004); Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr. Norman Borlaug (2005); Usher Raymond, IV (2006); Citizens of the State of Mississippi (2006); Dr. Frederick K. C. Price (2007); Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali (2007); The Mighty Sparrow (2007); Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (2007); Bishop T.D. Jakes (2008);  Senator George McGovern (2009); James Chaney, Andy Goodman, Michael Schwerner (2009).



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CORE -- Congress of Racial Equality  *  P.O. Box 264  *  New York, N.Y.  *  10276  *  Tel: (212) 598-4000  *  Fax: (212) 982-0184


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