Opportunity Leader, Mary L. Chapman, Receives Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Acheivement Award

by Alex Caloggero   •  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left behind a legacy that encouraged cooperation and community service, and believed in the power of education and the importance of cultural diversity. One of the ways this legacy manifests itself is through awards and recognitions that shines light on those who dedicate themselves to these same principles. Mary L. Chapman is one of those individuals who has continually promoted and advanced the values of Martin Luther King, Jr. through personal, community, and civic engagement.

Mary is an Opportunity Leader, part of the Opportunity Nation campaign. One hundred applicants were selected to be Opportunity Leaders and Scholars. An Opportunity Leader is someone who is an active voice in their community seeking to increase opportunity. Mary holds this position because of her personal experience facing barriers to opportunity, as well as a track record that shows she has made meaningful change in her community already. She is a community mobilizer and an invaluable asset to the Opportunity Nation campaign.

Each year, The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award is presented to an individual by the Iowa Commission on the Status of African Americans (ICSAA). It “recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to Dr. Kings’ vision, helping others, cultural awareness, diversity, active community participation and promoting racial equality of all people in Iowa.” The Links Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and supporting African Americans, determined that Mary should be nominated to receive the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Achievement Award. The ICSAA concurred and on January 16th 2012 Governor Terry Branstad presented her the award at the 23rd Annual State of Iowa Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

Mary’s time working at the De Moines Area Community College Center for Community & Workforce Partnerships is one of many examples of how she understands the importance of providing assistance to those who are less fortunate and could benefit greatly from a support system. She has utilized both her personal time and used her career to bring people together and help them work through obstacles they are facing. Mary has been selfless in the amount of time and effort she puts into helping others. The program of the Martin Luther King Celebration stated: “ Dr. Mary L. Sconiers Chapman does not stand still in her past and present concerns about education, economic development, and making the world a better place for all. She has a proven record of helping others; she continues to be unselfish with her time and resources, and she sees the big picture. Additionally, her work in education acknowledges her belief in the power of education as a way for people to empower themselves”. Having people, like Mary, in our communities who are so naturally are attracted to using their resources to assist those in need is an invaluable asset as many in our nation face difficult times. The cooperation and charity that Mary embodies are integral parts of giving everyone the opportunity to better themselves and their situation.

Alex Caloggero

Opportunity Nation

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