Realizing the Dream banquet honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The 2023 Realizing the Dream 14th Legacy Banquet in remembrance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. honored several individuals who dedicated their lives to military service.

This year Lt. Colonel George Hardy received the Mountaintop Award. Hardy is one of the few living Tuskegee Airmen.

Two members of the Tuskegee Airmen were at the banquet to accept Hardy’s award.

“As a member of the Tuskegee Airmen I am here to accept the award on his behalf. It’s a very important award and George is one of our legacies. One of the last four remaining original Tuskegee Airmen who flew in the Red Tail Squadron,” said Jerry Burton, President of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.

Burton said Dr. King was a torch bearer that helped dream the dream.

The event’s guest speaker was none other than Lt Gen Russel Honoré , who was responsible for leading troops in post Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts.

“There were many leaders but Dr. King set the standard and because of his actions of peaceful demonstrations and his commitment to nonviolence in the midst of violence. It changed America,” said Honoré .

Retired Lt. Gen. Willie J. Williams, for whom the Stillman College Institute for Leadership, Education Equity and Race Relations is named, received the Call to Conscience Award. Williams is a 1974 graduate of Stillman who served in the Marine Corps for 40 years, rising to the position of Marine Corps Chief of Staff.

Christopher Gill received the Horizon Award. Gill, a military veteran who is pursuing a doctoral degree in educational psychology at UA, has dedicated his life to helping military men and women. His research on those who have transitioned into civilian life is credited with preventing countless suicides.

The theme for this year’s events, “Realizing the Dream Through Commitment and Sacrifice,” was selected by the Realizing the Dream committee, which includes representatives from Shelton State Community College, Stillman College, the Tuscaloosa chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and The University of Alabama.

Other events include:

All Unity Day activities are free and open to the public. For more information about activities and events, visit the Realizing the Dream website or call 205-348-7405.

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