41st Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration

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From left to right: Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, Supervisor John Gioia, Humanitarian of the Year recipient, Reverend Donnell R. Jones, Supervisor Federal Glover, Supervisor Candace Andersen and Supervisor Diane Burgis. Photo by Joe L. Fisher.

The Dream Starts With Me Celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  began with opening remarks by Supervisor and Board Chair, John M. Gioia. Entertainment was provided by the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts and the Los Medanos College Gospel Choir.

The keynote address was provided by Sheryl Lane, the director of Building Block for Kids.

Sheryl Lane, a native of Richmond, is the daughter of parents who were born and raised in the segregated South and moved to California in pursuit of greater opportunity.

Lane holds a Master’s of Science in Urban Policy and Management from the Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at the New School in New York City. She holds two BA’s, one in sociology and another in psychology and social behavior, both from UC Irvine.  In 2017, Sheryl completed eight years of service as a member of the Richmond Planning Commission.

Contra Costa County is pleased to have Sheryl Lane share her thoughts in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  Day.

Rev.  Donnell R. Jones is the recipient of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ 2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award. He was chosen for his leadership and service to the community spanning 27 years.

In his work in Contra Costa County and beyond, Jones cares deeply about advocating for peace, justice and violence prevention. He is the pastor of New Direction Ministries and the owner of New Soul Cafe, both in Richmond.

He has served as a community organizer and interim director of Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization. He is currently working as a contractor with the Richmond Police Dept., collaborating with such entities as Crime Prevention, Immigration, Education, Economic Development, NAACP and Pastoral Alliances. Contra Costa County was pleased to present him with the 2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Yassna Ahmadi, a senior at Pinole Valley High School, is the recipient of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors 2019 Student Humanitarian Award. She was chosen for her passionate leadership and the impact she has already made durning her high school career. Ahmadi is an honors student and president of the student body. As the lead writer for the school newspaper, “Spartan Ink,” she has written over a dozen articles on topics addressing real world concerns from immigration to LGBTQ issues to women’s rights. She oranized and spoke at the school’s memorial ceremony after last year’s masssacre at the Parkland School in Florida. She is an activist who “has a great sense of respect toward her peers and adults,” notes her school principal. She is proud of her Muslim heritage, while including the African American Student Union among her many activities.

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