Martin Luther King Day Celebration

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The City of Sandy Springs MLK Day event features inspirational tributes that capture and celebrate the spirit of Dr. King and reflect the diversity of the community. This year’s Keynote Speaker will be Civil Rights icon, Xernona Clayton.

A trusted friend and advisor to Dr. King and his wife Coretta, Ms. Clayton was also a highly respected broadcast executive working as a senior executive for Turner Broadcasting for nearly 30 years. She is currently the President and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation, and Executive Producer of the Foundation’s Trumpet Awards, a prestigious event highlighting African American accomplishments and contributions. Her numerous contributions include coordinating the activities of Atlanta’s Black doctors in 1966 in a project called Doctors’ Committee for Implementation. These efforts resulted in the desegregation of all hospital facilities in Atlanta and served as a model and a pilot for other states throughout the country, receiving a national honor from the National Medical Association for its impact. Her persistent fight against the dragons of prejudice and bigotry back in 1968, resulted in the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan denouncing the Klan and crediting Xernona’s influence with his change.

Other distinguished speakers include:

  • Rabbi Dr. Analia Bortz, Congregation Or Hadash 

Along with her husband Rabbi Mario Karpuj and their daughters Tamar and Adina, Rabbi Analia is the co-founder of Congregation Or Hadash, an egalitarian and conservative Jewish congregation that has called Sandy Springs home for 13 years. Rabbi Analia was ordained in 1994 at the Seminario Rabinico Latino American, Marshall T. Meyer as the First Woman Rabbi in Latin America. She is a medical doctor with postdoctoral studies in Bioetchics. 

  • Pastor Henry Bush, Sharon Community Church

In February 2002, Pastor Henry Bush was appointed to lead the Sharon Community United Methodist Church, a congregation as diverse and multicultural as the community it serves. Today, Sharon’s once tiny, all-white congregation has more than 300 members representing more than 10 countries and nationalities. 

  • Reverend Ricardo Green, Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church

Rev. Ricardo Green is the Director of Spanish Ministries at Mount Vernon Presbyterian. Originally from Honduras in Central America, Rev. Green attended Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, where he received his Masters in Divinity. He was ordained as a Presbyterian (USA) minister in 1992. He served in Florida, Brazil, and Tennessee before moving here earlier this year.

Sandy Springs businessman Oz Hill returns as emcee, his eleventh year in that role.  Mr. Hill is the principal and Chief Executive Officer of International Security Solutions Inc., a full-service security consulting, planning and program management corporation.

Spalding Drive Charter Elementary School children will also return to lift their voices and provide musical entertainment, as will the North Springs Charter High School’s ROTC for the Presentation of the Colors.

As part of the celebration, the City of Sandy Springs will present the 2017 Humanitarian Award honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The award recognizes an individual who embodies King’s history of character and service. 

2017 Humanitarian Award Winner Rabbi Ron Segal


Rabbi Segal has served as senior rabbi of Temple Sinai since 2006, and as associate rabbi since 1996. In addition, Rabbi Segal has been directly involved with the establishment of the Sandy Springs Community Assistance Center, Second Helpings: Atlanta, and family Promise of North Fulton/Dekalb. His personal service to the underprivileged and disadvantaged is amplified by his use of the pulpit to raise awareness of great challenges in the community and to mobilize the congregation to action. 

Rabbi Segal is committed to building bridges of faith and friendship the interfaith community by remaining a committee member of the Sandy Springs Interfaith Clergy Association – an organization he founded and chaired for many years. He is the senior member of the clergy in Sandy Springs and is routinely called upon for guidance by both Jewish and non-Jewish clergy. He has been nationally recognized through his selection as one of only several Executive Board members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. 

Like Dr. King, Rabbi Segal is an inspiring spiritual leader whose thoughtful and compelling speeches and presentations motivate others from complacency.

Rabbi Ron Segal and his wife Jill are the proud parents of two sons.  

Previous Humanitarian Award recipients include:
2016 - Tillie O'Neal Kyles
2015 - Betty and Phil Klein
2014- Hugo Mullins
2013- Felix Lora
2012- Tamara Carrera
2011- Melanie Noble-Couchman
2010- Carolyn Axt
2009- Lucy Hall-Gainer
2008- Randi Passoff
2007- Nancy McCord


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