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Bloomington-Normal MLK Awards Announced

City of Bloomington
MLK Award Winners include two stalwart community volunteers and two student volunteers in Bloomington Normal.

The Bloomington and Normal Human Relations Commissions have announced their Martin Luther King Jr. award winners for the year. The commission chooses people who reflect the ideology of the late Dr. King.

This year the honorees are:

  • Former Bloomington Alderman Karen Schmidt
  • Elaine Hill of Normal
  • Youth award winner Kaylin Richards of Bloomington
  • Youth award winner Dhruv Rebba of Normal

Schmidt has a long record of public service in addition to her time on the City Council. She has been involved with Not In Our Town, the Book Bike, and the West Bloomington Revitalization Project.
Hill is a longtime board member of Cultural Festival, a volunteer with the Coalescence Theatre Project, and a board member of the McLean County Museum – Bloomington Normal Black History Project, according to a news release announcing the awards to be presented at the 44th annual MLK Luncheon on Jan. 18 at ISU’s Bone Student Center.

Kaylin is a junior at Bloomington High School. She is the Anti-Bullying Ambassador for the Chicago Area Project (CAP), is on the Project Oz Youth Action Board, and works with the WBRP.

Rebba is a sophomore at Normal Community High School. He is a volunteer and/or member of YMCA/ YWCA, Illinois 4-H, Multicultural Leadership Program (MCLP), National Computer Science Honor Society, and First Robotics.

This year’s keynote speaker is author and educator Aaron Vessup, author of the book “Black in China." Vessup was also the first Human Relations coordinator hired by the city of Bloomington in 1972.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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