Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award Program

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Award Logo


The City of Chandler Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Division is proud to announce the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Program.

The awards program honors the accomplishments of Chandler area residents, including youth who contribute significantly to creating a compassionate and socially just community through their dedication to human and civil rights.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards Selection Committee will oversee the selection process for the following awards:


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statue

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Achievement Award

This award recognizes individuals who embody the values and ideas of Dr. King as evidenced by their extensive work promoting social and economic justice, defending civil rights, and enhancing the dignity of all people in the Chandler community.

Emma Arbuckle

Emma Arbuckle Empowerment Award

This award recognizes individuals who work to empower the community by creating opportunities for leadership, racial equality, and solidarity. 

Ms. Emma Arbuckle was a South Chandler resident who was a leader, advocate, and mother figure in the local community.

Youth Award

Youth Action Award

This award recognizes a student (18 and younger) who is actively working to promote non-violence, commitment to service, and courage amongst their peers. 

This nominee should be actively working in the community in a capacity that supports Dr. MLK Jr.’s values. 

The winner of this category will receive a $500 award.

The nomination period is now closed.

Process and Timeline

  • Nominations close Friday, Dec. 1 at noon. 
  • The selection committee will review nominations (and evaluate the nominees based on the nomination form submitted) from Dec. 4 - 8 and winners will be notified the week of Dec. 11.
  • Award winners were honored at an Awards Ceremony in January 2024.

For more information on the Dr. MLK Jr. awards program, contact Adrianna Erickson at 480-782-2224.

Nominee Criteria

The nominee should be a resident of Chandler, Arizona, be employed within the city, and/or serve the city in some capacity. The nominee should have a track record of actively serving and making a positive impact on the Chandler community. This ensures that the individual has a direct connection to the community.

The nominee should demonstrate a commitment to the principles and ideals championed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., such as equality, social justice, civil rights, and community unity.

It's important that the nominee has made contributions to the Chandler community during 2023. These contributions should align with Dr. King's legacy and ideals.

The nominee should have a strong reputation for integrity, honesty, and ethical conduct. Their character should reflect the values and spirit of Dr. King.

2024 Winners

Sakina Al-Amin, a black Muslim organizer with 15+ years in racial equality, social justice, and civil rights, embodies Dr. King's non-violence teachings. From a decade as a healthcare Standardized Patient promoting racial sensitivity to teaching egalitarian values, Sakina models equality.

Transitioning to a national civil rights organizer post-George Floyd, she became a Monzon Fellow, focusing on civic engagement. Beyond career, her 16-year interracial marriage reflects her commitment to a better world for her biracial daughters.

As a seven-year Chandler resident, Sakina actively engages in voter registration drives and diverse content creation, embodying the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.

Rambha Singh, a distinguished businesswoman and community activist, mirrors the legacy of Emma Arbuckle through her exceptional work ethic, passion for change, and dedication to creating opportunities. As the Founder of AZ Rajputs and Maharana Association of North America, Rambha champions cultural awareness, organizes fundraisers and supports diverse communities.

Initiatives like the City of Chandler Diwali celebration and vital services during the pandemic showcase her commitment to improving the quality of life. Recognized with the Make It Happen award, Rambha's impact spans continents, epitomizing the values of the Emma Arbuckle Empowerment Award.

Kaleb, a dedicated member of the Well Church in Chandler, actively promotes diversity and social justice. His involvement in setting up tech and video props creates an inclusive environment, supporting events like Pride marches and addressing social justice issues. Kaleb extends his commitment beyond the church, participating in BLM demonstrations and advocating for peaceful change. In the last 2-3 years, Kaleb has made a notable impact on Chandler residents.

As an active member of AAPHI, he completed an internship, participated in Stop Asian Hate demonstrations, and promoted Asian Awareness Month for diversity and equality. Kaleb's dedication is further evident in voter registration canvassing events, reaching out to all residents, regardless of ethnicity or party affiliation. Kaleb is an outstanding individual who aligns with the award's core values, showcasing a commitment to non-violence, social justice, and community improvement in Chandler.

Violeta, founder of LEVE (Latinx of the East Valley for Education), is a dedicated advocate for the Hispanic community in Chandler. She addresses educational needs in the CUSD school district, serving as a bridge between the Hispanic community and the district. Over the past 2-3 years, Violeta has collaborated closely with the city of Chandler and CUSD to ensure children have the resources to succeed. She played a crucial role in preserving San Marcos Elementary School and advocated for hiring a Spanish interpreter.

Violeta's commitment and perseverance in enriching the lives of the Hispanic community demonstrate her dedication to community unity, making her an honorable mention for her nominee category.

Shreya, a freshman at Hamilton High School, embodies Dr. King's teachings through her commitment to core values. As a leader in the Makers of Change challenge, she dedicated 50 hours to developing a solution for a child with Cortical Visual Impairment, winning the first position for Level 2 Design. Over the past 2-3 years, Shreya actively improved Chandler residents' lives through diverse volunteer initiatives, accumulating 36.75 hours of service. From food distribution and city clean-up projects to health-related volunteering and tutoring underprivileged kids, Shreya's dedication showcased through her National Honors Society membership, makes her a deserving youth award recipient, inspiring positive change through small actions.

2023 Winners

John Prothro

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Award Recipient

John Prothro Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Award

Mr. Prothro, an esteemed Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) educator, uses his voice to advocate for social justice with a desire to bring intentional change within his spheres of excellence. He currently serves as an Advanced Placement (AP) World History instructor at Perry High School.

In addition to his full-time teaching responsibilities, he serves as the social studies department chair, he is a member of the School Improvement Team (formerly DATAWISE), PHS equity team member, and a sponsor for the Black Student Union (BSU).

He is also the voice of Perry High School. He emcees all major athletic and academic events. His transformational leadership skill is evident in the manner in which he has chosen to utilize his voice in reshaping his learning community within his school, the school district, and the larger Chandler community.




Shirley White

Emma Arbuckle Empowerment Award

Shirley White Emma Arbuckle Empowerment Award Recipient

Ms. White, a longtime Chandler resident, is the epitome of the highest example of unselfishness, unbiased devotion to helping others, and the building of community. Immediately upon her arrival, she started engaging in what she does best, helping people.

The first show of her natural abilities to help others took place at the Human Action For Chandler (CAP). Ms. White’s job duties allowed her to enhance her ability to empower the community. Another avenue in which she made a difference in the lives of people is during her work for the City of Chandler, where she continued to empower the community.

She worked with the summer programs to connect youth to various community summer programs. She also volunteered at Chandler High School where she sponsored the Black Student Union. Ms. White is a member of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church where she formerly was a trustee, she contributed and impacted the lives of the members.



Kanix Gallo

Youth Action Award

Kanix Gallo Youth Action Award

Mr. Gallo, a Chandler High School, exhibits leadership in a number of ways. He has shown leadership by helping organize many non-violent protests and walkouts to promote safety for marginalized groups in schools, especially those in the LGBTQ community.

He is the President of the SAS club at Chandler High, started a Diversity club while attending Andersen Junior High, and is a member of Support Equality AZ Schools (SEAS). He is also a member of the Shine team for GLSEN.

Mr. Gallo has answered calls late at night and on the weekends of teens who are struggling and need support and is a light in so many people's lives. Since he was a child, Mr. Gallo has volunteered countless hours of time for everything from water safety to LGBTQ rights. He is changing the world for the better and will accomplish so much in their life.




Glen LaVon Woods

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Glen LaVon Woods Lifetime Achievement Award

Glen LaVon Woods is co-founder of the South Chandler Self-Help Foundation, INC and was the community organizer and director for the Chandler Community Action Program. She eventually advanced to Council Coordinator for Social Services delivered to low-income in the East Valley Community Action Program offices.

After some time in that position, she was promoted to Social Services Parent Involvement Coordinator for Maricopa County Head Start (excluding the City of Phoenix) She was instrumental in bringing the Maricopa County Head Start Program to Chandler, AZ.

She organized the first Black History Celebration in Chandler, as well as the Miss Juneteenth Pageant. Thousands have been touched by the efforts and given encouragement through the Black History, and Juneteenth Celebrations.