COLUMBUS — Three Lima residents were among seven Ohioans recognized Thursday at the 30th annual Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration for their efforts to advance nonviolent social change.
John Upshaw, a special assistant and chief diversity officer for the Office of Institutional Diversity at The Ohio State University-Lima, was awarded the Cultural Awareness Award. He has been a volunteer for more than 20 years with various cultural awareness activities and groups. His activities include volunteering with youth and promoting domestic violence awareness. In addition, Upshaw’s work with the Lima Family YMCA Black Achievers program led to OSU-Lima being recognized as the volunteer organization of the year twice, and he received the individual Volunteer of the Year Award in 2010. Upshaw’s other community involvement includes serving as a facilitator for Students Teaching Relationship Intervention through Violence Education via Crossroads Crisis Center Inc.. He also is a facilitator for the Positive Lifestyles Career Program of the Lima schools and serves on the Allen County Museum and Historical Society board and the Men Choosing Nonviolence Committee through the Partnership for Violence Free Families.
Lewis Shine II was awarded the Health Equity and Awareness Award. Shine is the founder, owner and general manager of the Lima Express, a member of the Premier Professional Basketball League, which has 12 teams in the Midwest and East regions of the United States. In addition to bringing professional basketball to Lima, Shine has helped people regain their lives through a boot camp fitness regimen he started in May 2014 to help individuals become physically fit.
Da’Quan Knuckles was awarded the Capturing the Vision of Dr. King Award. Knuckles competed in the Lima Regional MLK Oratorical Contest in 2012 and 2013. Both years he won his age group to advance to the Statewide MLK Oratorical Contest, which is held in Columbus each April and sponsored by the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission. After graduating from high school, Knuckles continued his involvement in the regional contest through I Am Making a Difference, an organization that helps young people. Knuckles coached contestants twice a week during the school year while carrying a full-time course load at The Ohio State University.
The event, sponsored by the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission, was held at Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 E. Broad St., Columbus.