Contra Costa County seeks nominations for Humanitarians of the Year

Awards open to students, adults who exemplify spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.

Contra Costa County officials are seeking student and adult nominees for its annual Humanitarian of the Year Awards, with a special interest on nominees who best exemplify the life, legacy and spirit of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The county’s Board of Supervisors will recognize a community member and student leader whose dedication to others best embodies the legacy of King during the county’s 42nd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremony in January. Nominations being due Nov. 5.

All East Bay residents are welcome to nominate individuals whose efforts affect the Contra Costa County community.

To submit online nominations and learn more about the county’s celebration, residents can visit the county’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ceremony website.

The 2019 Student Humanitarian of the Year was Pinole Valley High School senior Yassna Ahmadi, and the Humanitarian of the Year was Rev. Donnell R. Jones.

Contra Costa County officials say Ahmadi is proud of her Muslim heritage and an active member of the African American Student Union who serves as an advocate for causes that support the disadvantaged and disempowered. She also works as a baby sitter and a volunteer assistant to a UC Berkeley professor.

"She is one of the most giving students I have had the pleasure of working with in my 31 years in West Contra", said principal Kibby Kleiman.

Jones was selected because of his leadership and more than 27 years of service to the community.

Pastor of New Direction Ministries and the owner of New Soul Cafe -- both in Richmond -- county officials said Jones cares deeply about advocating for peace, justice and violence prevention.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremony will be held on Jan. 21, at 651 Pine St. in Martinez.

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