Austin Area Heritage Council Promotes Understanding and Respect Among All PeopleStefanie Lebens
For 30 years, the Austin Area Heritage Council has overseen and planned Austin’s annual Martin Luther King Day celebrations in a continued effort to promote understanding and respect among all people.
The Heritage Council was formed in June of 1995 to officially oversee the planning of Austin’s annual Martin Luther King Day celebrations. The Heritage Council wanted to create a more inclusive and family atmosphere at the MLK Day celebration, so they reached out to non-African American-based organizations to participate and adopted the new title of “MLK Community Celebration.”
The mission of the Austin Area Heritage Council is to encourage interest in all cultures represented in Austin and to celebrate the rich history of Austin. The Heritage Council promotes understanding and respect among all people by creating and supporting multicultural activities as well as highlighting the achievements and talents of all members of the community regardless of race or religion. Now on MLK Day, the Council organizes a march, a program at the MLK statue and festival, and a food drive among other activities to continue the work of Dr. King.
Along with the MLK Community Celebration, the Austin Area Heritage Council also collaborates with several organizations to sponsor the annual MLK Oratory Competition where local participating fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students compete by delivering a five-minute speech focusing on a specific theme. Students who participate must write the speech themselves and it must reflect Dr. King’s ideas and principles. The Austin Area Heritage Council and its partner’s aim with the MLK Oratory Competition is to encourage his legacy of peace and unity during the competition.
The Austin Area Heritage Council also created the MLK Youth Legacy Scholarship awards program to recognize youth in the Austin community for their outstanding commitment and achievements. They have five sponsors, Ascension Seton, Applied Materials, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, and Capitol Metro that they work with for awards in seven scholarship categories and gave out a total of $18,500 in 2023. There are currently 11 very accomplished and involved members on the Heritage Council Board of Directors who all serve in a voluntary capacity and bring multiple decades’ worth of experience working to serve the Austin community.
RecognizeGood, along with friends and family of the Austin Area Heritage Council gathered at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center to tell the Austin Area Heritage Council “Thank You” and present them with a certificate, a $1,000 donation to the MLK Youth Legacy Scholarship Awards Program, and complimentary seats to our 2024 Ethics in Business Awards luncheon.
This recognition is a sincere “Thank you!” from the Central Texas community to the Austin Area Heritage Council for their dedication and service to our community.