2nd Annual Champagne & Grits Banquet Honors Local Leaders

SACRAMENTO – Tomorrow, Wednesday -  August 29th, will be MLK365′s Martin Luther King Jr. Awards 2nd Annual Champagne & Grits Banquet. This event will  recognize four individuals for a lifetime commitment to public service and social justice.

The celebration will take place at the Croatian American Cultural Center, located at 3730 Auburn Blvd.. The event starts at 6:30 PM and is planned to run until  9:00 PM. Tickets are $100.

For more information call 916-995-3882 / 916-479-1967 or email: info@mlk365.org

This year’s honorees include:

Grantland Johnson “Drum Major for Justice”

Who has read more books, or can quote more authors in a single conversation than Grantland Johnson? His values and leadership acumen was shaped on the loving streets of his beloved Del Paso Heights. The community recently honored him by renaming a community park the “Grantland Johnson Soccer Field.”

Johnson’s public service experience includes being elected and appointed to positions at the federal, state and local levels. He was elected to the Sacramento City Council and Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. He was appointed by the Clinton Administration to Direct the U. S. Department of Health and Human Service–Region IX, and he served under Governor Gray Davis administration as the Secretary of California Health and Human Services, making him the first African American to serve in all levels of government.

As a Sacramento City Councilman, Grantland Johnson advocated for the City’s first Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday celebration.

May Lee “Community Activist Award”

Armed with a Masters in Social Work from Sacramento State University and a (ML) King-size vision of how to make the world a better place, May Lee is the Founder of Asian Resources, a non-profit organization with a mission to connect low-income, immigrant and refugee communities to jobs and other resources. She co-founded Health for All, incubated the idea of My Sister House and played a major role in the founding efforts to established the Sacramento Asian-Pacific Chamber of Commerce.

In her efforts to address youth violence she secured grants and developed strategies for prevention programs which included job training and education. May was also instrumental in developing the concept of the “One Stop” Career Center which allowed job seekers and others to seek services of employment, educational and career planning in one building.

In her spare time, May played lead roles in the 2010 Census outreach, redistricting efforts and voter’s rights which resulted in ballots now being printed in languages of Chinese and Spanish in Sacra­mento County. Thirty-one years ago May was among a small, but committed group who organized the first MLK Celebration here in Sacramento.

Chevo Ramirez “Diversity Award”

To some, Chevo Ramirez is considered a local hero, having helped to support hundreds of projects, programs and people over the years. If you don’t know him personally, chances are someone you know does. The name “Chevo” has become its own brand. In deed, he is the most “interesting man in the world!”

As the Regional Vice President of the Wells Fargo Foundation for the Northern California Region, Chevo’s position, managing charitable contributions and working closely with community organiza­tions, allows him to do what he loves: helping people to help themselves. Chevo says it best, “When the community comes together, great things can be accomplished.” He has also served a mentor and friend to many young professionals who still keep in touch and draw inspiration from him every day.

Anne Rudin “Transformative Leadership Award”

The next generation of aspiring politicians still seeks her advice and endorsements. Elected the first woman Mayor of Sacramento, Anne Rudin helped to transform Sacramento from govern­ment and agricultural town to a destination city.

Mayor Rudin led the charge for the development of Sacramento’s light rail system. She championed equal rights, nuclear disarmament, local anti-smoking laws, campaign contributions and bans on assault weapons. Under her leadership, Mayor Rudin and the City Council brought Coretta Scott King to Sacramento, paving the way for the first MLK Day observance.