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UNP Named as 2007 MLK Drum Major Award Recipient

January 17, 2007 — University Neighborhood Partners (UNP) will receive the Utah Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission’s 2007 Drum Major Award for community organization of the year for their commitment to empowering communities through education. UNP Director Dr. Rosemarie Hunter will accept the award at the luncheon on Jan. 12, 2007 in the Utah Cultural Celebration Center.

“University Neighborhood Partners was chosen as this year’s community based organization, because of what they do best, that is, empowering communities,” said Michael S. Styles, Director of Black Affairs for Utah’s Office of Ethnic Affairs. He said UNP understands that “there is no greater tool of empowerment than education, making it the great equalizer, but for that to be successful, the stability of the home is essential in that process. UNP believes what Dr. King has believed all along-that it takes a village to raise a child,” Styles added.

Hunter said she is privileged to receive this award on behalf of University Neighborhood Partners staff and our many campus and community partners. “The pathways, programs and opportunities available through UNP are the result of the vision and commitment of west Salt Lake residents; UNP founding director, Irene Fisher and the Advisory Board; University administration, faculty and students; west Salt Lake community organizations; the Salt Lake School District; Salt Lake Community College; and our many supporters. Receiving this award represents the contributions and commitment of all UNP partners who strive to build healthy communities and neighborhoods that celebrate diversity and where all families can make their dreams a reality.”

University Neighborhood Partners (UNP) bridges Utah’s flagship university with seven ethnically and culturally rich Salt Lake City neighborhoods west of State Street in ways that benefit the west side and the University of Utah (U of U) communities. These neighborhoods include Rose Park, Glendale (West Salt Lake), Westpointe, Jordan Meadows, Poplar Grove, State Fairpark, and People’s Freeway. Increasing access to and awareness of higher education for residents of west Salt Lake grounds all of UNP’s efforts, making it the organization’s key focus. Since its inception five years ago, UNP has:

  • counseled over 100 potential college students;

  • provided books to over 300 kids through the Youth Book Exchange Program;

  • trained over 65 community leaders through the Westside Leadership Institute to take up positions on local non-profit Boards of Advisors, community councils, and city government committees;

  • trained 20 Spanish-speaking parents as Community Advocates working towards academic success through United for Kids;

  • reached over 800 attendees at Partners in the Park with messages promoting higher education; and

  • supported nearly 400 Hartland Apartment residents to acquire survival English, amass down-payments on homes, find employment, pass US citizenship tests, and enroll in higher education.

The Utah Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission established the Drum Major Award in 2002 as a way to recognize individuals or organizations who demonstrate a commitment to Dr. King’s ideology of nonviolence, human rights, diversity and community service. The award ceremony has been held annually in January in conjunction with Martin Luther King holiday celebrated on the third Monday of that month each year.

The Utah Martin Luther King, Jr. Human Rights Commission was established in 1991 by former Governor Norman H. Bangerter. The 14-member commission strives to promote education and awareness of King’s ideals by encouraging ceremonies and activities honoring the MLK holiday each year, particularly working with schools and other government and private organizations by facilitating workshops and training in efforts that recognize, resolve, and resist violence and racism.

The Drum Major awards stem from a comment King made during a Feb. 4, 1968 address. He spoke of a “drum major instinct” that should be cultivated among us all: “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” He challenged us all to be “drum majors for justice, drum majors for peace, and drum majors for righteousness.”