Annual MLK Humanitarian Awards Service and Birthday Celebration set for Sunday

  • Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013 12:01 a.m.
Avery will be keynote speaker.
Avery will be keynote speaker.

The 36th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Awards Service and Birthday Celebration will be held at 3 p.m. at the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Salisbury, 1920 Shirley Ave.

The Rev. Dr. Nilous M. Avery II is host pastor.


Music will be provided by the North Rowan Connection Choir and the 100 Men in Black Choir, both under the direction of Milton Griffith. Other participants will be the MZMBC Creative Expressions Ministries and the J.C. Price American Legion Post 107.

State and local government and community leaders will bring greetings.

Recipients of the 2013 MLK Jr. Humanitarian Awards will be announced and winners from area high schools will be presented the Samuel R., Jr. and Eva H. Johnson Memorial Scholarship.

The scholarship is named after the late Rev. Dr. Samuel R. Johnson Jr. who served as pastor of Mount Zion from 1974 until his death in 1991, and the late Dr. Eva Johnson, who passed away in June 2012.

The Johnsons were instrumental in helping establish the King celebration activities, including the Humanitarian Awards Service and the prayer breakfast sponsored by the Salisbury-Rowan Human Relations Council,.

Jaha N. Avery, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hillís School, will serve as the keynote speaker.

She is a native of Asheville and spent significant time growing up in Piscataway, N.J. before returning to North Carolina where she was a member of the first graduating class of West Johnston High School in Benson.

Avery received dual bachelor degrees in political science and communication from UNC-Charlotte, during which time she volunteered for the Obama campaign in public relations and community outreach.

She also worked as a junior reporter at the Charlotte Observer newspaper.

Upon acceptance to UNC Law School, Avery participated in the schoolís Winter Break initiative in New Orleans working with the Louisiana State Bar Association.

She completed numerous hours of pro bono service, going on to later join the pro bono board as its public relations coordinator.

Avery took a leave of absence from law school last January to join the Operation Vote team at the Barack Obama re-election campaign headquarters in Chicago, Ill. She received VIP credentials for the September 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and the upcoming presidential inauguration activities.

She plans to graduate from law school in December.

Avery is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the NAACP, The National Lawyers Guild, The Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, The Black Law Students Association and the National Bar Association.

After graduation, she plans to work in the nonprofit field, focusing on the executive leadership branch.

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