Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission announces 2021 Ecumenical Service keynote speaker and winners of 2020 Living the Dream Awards


The 2021 MLK Jr. Ecumenical Service will be virtual due to COVID-19.

CHARLESTON, WV – The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission has announced the keynote speaker of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Ecumenical Service and winners of the 2020 Living the Dream Awards.

The winners, nominated by members of the public, will be recognized during the Ecumenical Service on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. In compliance with public health measures during the pandemic, the Ecumenical Service will be virtual and accessible from HHOMA’s Facebook page. Further details will be released at a later date.

“We are thrilled to announce the exceptional keynote speaker and Living the Dream award recipients. These awards are very well-deserved, and we are honored to recognize each recipient,” said Commission Chair and HHOMA Executive Director Jill Upson. “We’d also like to share that The King Center in Atlanta has set the 2021 King Holiday theme: The Fierce Urgency of Building the Beloved Community. This theme will be showcased throughout the 2021 commemoration.”

The keynote speaker selected for this year’s commemoration is Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic. She is the Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity and department chair of Sociology, Criminology, and Criminal Justice at Shepherd University (SU) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. She is also a certified life coach, Girl Scout and 4-H leader, and founder of a program called “Help Bridge,” providing leadership and social justice education in the community.

Dr. Howard-Bostic educates the community about anti-human trafficking, multicultural justice, dating violence prevention, and financial/environmental sustainability. Thousands of school-aged youth and community stakeholders benefit from her workshops, justice trainings, intervention projects, events, food drives, service projects, and community workshops.

Additionally, Dr. Howard-Bostic was the first recipient of Shepherd’s Storer College Award, which recognizes faculty members who incorporate diversity and social justice into their classroom, research, scholarship, and interaction with students.

The annual Living the Dream Awards are given to individuals who exemplify, through action or personal traits, the principles and ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his pursuit of social change. The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission will recognize the following recipients on Jan. 18, 2021:

  • Sharing of Self Award: Edna Green
  • Scholarship Award: Cheryl Plear
  • Human and Civil Rights Award: Anne Weeks
  • Advocate of Peace Award: Dr. LaRee Naviaux
  • Service Organization Honor Roll: Safe Haven, Mt. Hope
  • The Governor’s Living the Dream Award: Dr. Chiquita Howard-Bostic

The Governor’s Living the Dream Award is the highest honor that is presented to an individual by the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission.

For more information contact the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs at 304-356-2023.

Contact Information

CONTACT: Michelle Petties —, 304-356-2023