INDIANAPOLIS | A Lake County judge and a Lake Central High School student were honored Thursday at Indiana's birthday celebration for Martin Luther King Jr.
Lake Superior Court Judge Calvin Hawkins received the Spirit of Justice Award from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. The award recognizes "trailblazers" inspired by King who "have devoted their personal and professional efforts to creating social justice."
Gov. Mike Pence presented the award to Hawkins in recognition of his work promoting diversity and equality in the state's legal system as both an attorney and a judge. Hawkins was appointed to the bench in 2007 by Gov. Mitch Daniels.
Mia Gjeldum, a junior at Lake Central High School, received the Passing the Torch Award for her original musical composition honoring King.
Gjeldum's song was named best out of 300 entries in the commission's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest. The song earned her a $500 college scholarship.
She performed her song, "We Are One Nation," in front of more than 400 people in the Statehouse's north atrium.
The song urges listeners, "Let's live the dream that King once dreamed and fulfill his legacy."
State Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, sounded a similar theme in his annual King address Thursday to the Indiana House.
Smith said a divided America cannot survive and urged lawmakers to put aside racism, anger and hatred of all kinds, and unite, in the spirit of King, for the good of the nation.