MLKing, Jr. Observance Day Association, Inc. Kicks Off The 2016 MLKing, Jr. Celebration


The 2016 M. L. King, Jr. Parade Marshals Reception will be held on Sunday, December 13, 2015 at Savannah State University’s King -Frazier Student Center at 5:000 p.m, The Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Observance Day Association, Inc. cordially invites you, our sponsors, supporters, and friends to attend the annual reception as we pay tribute and celebrate our 2016 Honorees’ great achievements.

The 2016 Parade Marshals are: Rev. Carolyn L. Dowse, a retired Chatham County School Principal, great community and church activist. Our second Marshal is Mr. Tom Kohler, a nationally known and celebrated author and advocate and for persons with disabilities.

Rev. Dr. Carolyn L. Dowse is a lifetime member of St. John Baptist Church “The Mighty Fortress. She is the oldest ordained minister at St. John. During her years at St. John she has functioned in practically every auxiliary in the Church.

She is a retired Elementary School Principal and Consultant. She received degrees from Savannah State University, New York City, Covington Theological Seminary and attended Princeton Theological Seminary. Through her God given gifts she has achieved a successful track record as an Administrator and Planner. Among her achievements are: Youngest Black female initially appointed as elementary principal in the Savannah-Chatham School System; One of the first Black students in the educational administration degree program at the University of Georgia and more.

Mr. Tom Kohler is a native of Savannah and a 1970 graduate of Jenkins High School. He attended Armstrong State College and graduated from the UGA in 1976.

Tom’s first involvement with someone with a disability was as a volunteer in his Temple Youth Group at Mickve Israel Temple. This influenced the remainder his school and work life. Tom worked, early in life, as a teacher’s aide, a teacher, a group home houseparent, an administrator at a sheltered workshop, and as part of the first effort to bring people home from the state institutions.

Tom currently works as the coordinator of Chatham Savannah Citizen Advocacy, a job he has held since 1978, (that’s right 37 years). This has involved meetings, listening to, talking with, and involving 1000’s of people from all walks and wheels of life in one another’s lives, through an idea called Citizen Advocacy.

Tom is an author (with Ms. Susan Earl) of the award winning book “Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community”. The story has been adapted as a stage play at the historic Emery Theatre in Cincinnati Ohio, has inspired readings of Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community on MLK Day through out the world, thanks to the power of Facebook.

Our Civil Rights Activist is Mr. Otis L. Heyward, a retired Chief Law Enforcement Narcotics officer, Politician and Civil Rights Activist from the District of Columbia. Mr. Heyward has a long and impressive history with Savannah Branch of the NAACP Youth Council.

Heyward graduated 13th in his class with honors in a Class of 360 from Alfred E. Beach High School. He was a proud member of the National Honors Society. He is the son of Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Elizabeth Heyward. While at Beach Heyward he found time to join the school Choir, the Norel Teens Book Club, the International Friendship Seekers and the NAACP Youth Council.

Our 2013 Theme is: “Dreamers Are Believers and Believers Become Achievers”

Our Theme Winners are: 1st Place Winner – Jordan Williams – Gadsden Elementary – 5th Grade 2nd Place Winner –Diego Perales – Oglethorpe Academy – 6th Grade 3rd Place Winner –TaNyua Meinin – Garrison Performing Arts School – 7th Grade For additional information please call the Association’s office at 912.234.5502 or the president’s office at 912.341.0041.

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