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If you know someone who has made significant and public contributions in any of the following categories, we invite you to nominate that person by virtue of a letter of recommendation. Members of the Task Force will review every nomination and select the honorees. They will be presented with their award at the 2024 MLK Community Breakfast and Celebration on Monday, January 15, 2024.

The awards and criteria are as follows:

2024 MLK Community Building Award: 

  • Nominees should be persons who have made significant contributions in building a sense of unity among Hamblen County citizens.
  • Nominees should have publicly demonstrated their ability in building a stronger, more inclusive community through identifiable activities and programs.

2024 MLK Award for Advancing Cultural Awareness

  • Nominees should demonstrate both an appreciation for diversity and inclusion and possess and use his/her/their skills in building and maintaining harmonious cross-cultural relationships through cultural activities or programs. 
  • Nominees shall have accomplished specific cultural initiatives that foster Dr. King’s vision of unity among people of diverse backgrounds.

2024 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Service and Advocacy

  • Nominees should be persons engaged in providing services and/or advocacy for the human rights of those marginalized because of poverty, race or ethnicity, national origin, gender, age or any other reason.
  • Nominees shall have publicly demonstrated and accomplished goals which have given voice and visibility to those who are marginalized.

Send the name of the nominee, the award you believe he or she deserves, his or her contact information and a letter of recommendation to

Dr. Alpha Alexander
230 Montrose Ave
Morristown, TN 37813-5259

The deadline for receiving nominations is January 8, 2024

Prompt for K-Grade 12

The following quotes are from Martin Luther King Jr.  Please see the following MLK grade guidelines and tell us what your thoughts and action would be for yourself from his quotes. How can his quotes aspire you to do something for the Morristown Community?

Grades  K-2 essay or drawn picture
1. “If you can’t fly then run, If you can’t run then walk, If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward”.

Grades 3-5
2. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Grades 6-8
3. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

Grade 9-12
4. Everything in the world is interconnected. For example, unhealthy living anywhere leads to lower productivity and increased health care costs which affects your business, workplace, health insurance premium, government, etc. and, in turn, your health. So, if a part of the population does not have access to healthy food, opportunity to exercise and affordable healthcare, you eventually will be affected. A healthy society benefits everyone.


Length and style:
K-2 – May be submitted in words or pictures
Grades 3-5 – An essay between 150-200 words
Grades 6-8 – An essay between 250-350 words
Grades 9-12 – An essay not to exceed 500 words


Download Entry Form

The essay may be handwritten or produced on a computer in 12 pt font
Submitting the essays:  Individual essays should be accompanied by a separate but completed entry form, copy attached.  If submissions are coming from a class in school, we ask that teachers number each essay from the class and include entry forms with numbers which match the essays in a separate folder or envelope.
Copyright:  All essays become the property of MTFD which reserves the right to publish all essays.

Judging Criteria:

Download Grades K-2 Scoring Rubrics

Download Grades 3-12 Scoring Rubrics


A cash prize of $200 will be awarded to the winner in each age group. K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Winners and at least one adult family member will be expected to attend the Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast at First United Methodist Church at 9:00 am, to present his or her essay.

Deadline for Entries is January 8, 2024

Submit to Hamblen County School Board main front desk office
Others should mail to:  Morristown Task Force on Diversity, ℅ Morristown Task Force on Diversity, 230 Montrose Ave, Morristown, TN 37813
Essays with entry form information can be E-mailed to:

Keynote Speaker Joan C Browning, an original Freedom Rider.
Jasmin Coleman

Date of Birth: 
August 25, 1987

Georgetown, South Carolina

High School: Georgetown (‘06) 
Bachelor’s: Jacksonville (‘10) 
Master’s: Liberty (21’)

Uncle – John Smalls Morgan State University (Football)
Cousin — Brian Smalls University of Michigan (Football)

Playing Experience:    
2006-08 Walters State
2008-2010 Jacksonville (Florida)  

Jasmin Coleman — the 2021 TCCAA Coach of the Year and Appalachian District Coach of the Year — boasts an impressive resume in her first season leading the Lady Senator basketball program. 

During the 2020-21 campaign, Coleman guided her team to a 13-4 record and TCCAA regular season championship The Lady Senators won the TCCAA Region 7 tournament championship and competed in the programs 17th NJCAA national tournament.

Her squad was led by 6 sophomores, including 2nd Team All-American, TCCAA Player of the Year, and TCCAA Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player Blayre Shultz, First Team All- TCCAA selection and Freshman of the Year Madison McCoy, and First Team All-TCCAA Quentarra Mitchell.

Under her guidance, two Lady Senator student-athletes – Jaida Wiggins and Madison McCoy – have been named NJCAA Academic All-American, while 4 (Haley Comer, Vertonia Bady, Jaida Wiggins, and Madison McCoy) have garnered All-TCCAA Academic honors.

Coleman was official appointed just the second full-time head coach in the program’s illustrious history and first black head coach in school history on Monday, July 21, 2021.

She entered her current position as Lady Senators head coach with 10 seasons of coaching experience as assistant coach all spent at Walters State.

During her time as assistant coach, Coleman displayed the ability to both sign premier prospects and then help those recruits develop into highly successful players.

Coleman helped Walters State land eventual NJCAA All-Americans and TCCAA All-Conference in each year as assistant coach at Walters State. Complying the highest percentage of Division one signees in 9 years as assistant with 28 to programs 49 Division one signees in 40 years pervious to her arrival.

Coleman succeeded Dave Kragel, the only previous full-time women’s basketball coach in the program’s history. Kragel announced his retirement in April 2020 after 43 seasons. Kragel compiled a 1,009-281 record at Walters State, making him the winningest women’s coach in NJCAA history.

Coleman was name to the prestigious North Carolina/South Carolina All-Star team, after leading Georgetown High School to the programs first Conference Championship her senior season. She also won four conference titles in volleyball and was selected as the school’s Homecoming Queen.

At Walters State, Coleman was a significant contributor to two teams that reached post-season play — the 2005 and 2006 TCCAA Tournament Champions and NJCAA National Tournaments. She was a starter and captain in her sophomore season and is among the top 15 in 3-point makes & percentage in school history.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Jacksonville in 2010 and master’s degree in Sports Management-Sport Administration from Liberty University 2021.

Coleman is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated and the NAACP.

Betsy Bonilla Jimenez-Hurst

Betsy Bonilla Jimenez-Hurst currently serves as the Executive Director of HOLA Lakeway. She is a native of Costa Rica. She holds a B.S. in Management of Nonprofit Organizations and an M.S. in Business Administration/Leadership, both from Johnson University. She has 20 years of experience working with immigrant families in East Tennessee. She also has a background in education, specifically helping children and adults in English as a second language and adult education.

Keisha Griffin Monroe

Keisha Griffin Monroe is owner and CEO of Lavishly Local LLC, a social media management, marketing & event agency that specializes in the growth and branding of small businesses. She is an active member of the Morristown Task Force on Diversity, a board member with Girls Inc and Vice President of the Hamblen County NAACP. 

She enjoys planning and hosting events and birthed Hamblen County’s first annual Juneteenth Celebration, which is approaching its 3rd year.Keisha is a Jefferson County native but spent many summers with family on Cain Ave, countless weekends bartending at City Lights (Smokehouse), and many evenings hooping at Talley Ward, so considers Morristown home. 

She is a boy Mom to 3 young men, one of which has 4 legs and spends most evenings watching them play sports.Keisha is a lover of good wine, food-ventures and football. She follows in her father’s footsteps with a love for the San Francisco 49ers and shares her mother’s passion for the UT Vols. Due to ACL injury she is now a former player for the Knoxville Lightning, a Semi Pro Women’s Football Team and part owner of a local Men’s Semi Pro team.

Keisha is passionate about the growth and longevity of small businesses and the diversity in her community and hopes to continue to find unique ways to be of service.