Penn Honors Martin Luther King Jr. With Interfaith Program and Community Awards Commemoration

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | | 215-898-4820January 12, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania will honor Martin Luther King Jr. with an Interfaith Program and Awards Commemoration, Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6 p.m. in Bodek Lounge of Houston Hall, 3417 Spruce St.

The program features musical performances and poetry readings from members of the Penn community, along with guest speaker Eboo Patel, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core, an organization that brings together young people with different religious values and moral traditions for cooperative service and dialogue around shared values. 

 “The Interfaith program emphasizes our common humanity,” Valerie Dorsey-Allen, the director of the African-American Resource Center and event organizer, said. “This keystone event also acknowledges individuals whose active service exemplifies Dr. King’s vision and work to empower marginalized members of our community through education and advocacy.”

The 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King Community Involvement Award recipients who will be honored during the Interfaith program are:

  • Monica Allison for her work as the president of the Cedar Park Neighbors group.  Her commitment to non-violence and youth has transformed Cedar Park into a warm and welcoming space.
  • Malik Aziz for his tireless work as a role model for people who were formerly incarcerated.  As an ex-offender, Aziz works to identify alternatives to incarceration and to reduce recidivism.
  • Jorell Brooks, a student in Penn’s Wharton School, for his work to change the lives of youth through mentoring and tutoring at the Ase Saturday Academy.  Brooks has been working with the students enrolled in the program since his freshman year.
  • Eric Grimes, a lecturer in Penn’s Graduate School of Education, for his commitment to social justice and improving the lives and consciousness of black people.
  • Brooke Hinton, a student at Wharton, for her work as a mentor, tutor and a leader at Lea Elementary School’s after-school program.  Hinton was elected as the Community School Student Partnership’s student director in 2010.
  • Claire Lomax, a Penn trustee and a member of the Board of Overseers of Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice, will receive the Rodin Education Award for her commitment to the advancement of educational opportunities through her support of Social Policy & Practice’s Pipeline for Promise program, which enables underserved community college students to attend classes in social work and social policy at Penn.  It also provides students with life skills training, such as fiscal responsibility and time management.


The Interfaith Program is one of the centerpieces of the annual MLK Commemorative Symposium on Social Change, a series of community events that runs through Feb. 3.

All MLK Symposium events are free and open to the public.  They include workshops, discussions, panels, lectures, special presentations, documentary film screenings and performances, such as Jazz for King, Friday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. in the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

A complete listing of events is available at