TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The 2022 Realizing the Dream Banquet and Concert will feature Star Jones and Billboard chart topping artist Kierra Sheard.
“Realizing the Dream Through Kindness and Respect for Others” is the theme for this year’s events. The planning committee, consisting of representatives from Shelton State Community College, Stillman College, the Tuscaloosa chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and The University of Alabama, collaborated to put together several events and activities celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On Friday, Jan. 14, at 6:30 p.m., the 13th Legacy Awards Banquet will take place in the Bryant Conference Center Sellers Auditorium. At the banquet, The Hon. U.W. Clemon will receive the Mountaintop Award, Dr. Nahree Doh will receive the Call to Conscience Award and Carina Villarreal will receive the Horizon Award.
Attorney, journalist and television personality Star Jones will be the Legacy Awards Banquet speaker. Perhaps best known as one of the original co-hosts on the ABC morning talk show, “The View,” Jones is the author of “You Have to Stand for Something, or You’ll Fall for Anything,” “Shine: A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love” and “Satan’s Sisters.”
Clemon is an Alabama attorney in private practice and former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. He was among the first 10 African American lawyers admitted to the Alabama bar and one of the first two African Americans elected to the Alabama Senate since Reconstruction. He was appointed by Jimmy Carter in 1980 as the first African American federal judge in Alabama. He has devoted decades to breaking down barriers in education, government and the economy.
Doh is the associate director of clinical and outreach services at UA’s Counseling Center. A licensed psychologist, she also provides individual counseling for students experiencing developmental and psychological concerns and has facilitated a workshop for international students to enhance their success and growth in the U.S. academic environment. She is known for her compassion for people and commitment to equality, as well as her willingness to take the moral high road regardless of personal and professional consequences.
Villarreal is a 2020 UA graduate and is currently pursuing a master of social work degree at the Capstone. During her time at UA, she has served in a variety of leadership roles, including director of multicultural affairs in the Student Government Association and president of the Hispanic-Latino Association. A graduate assistant in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, she is passionate about social justice, activism and promoting cultural awareness.
Gospel singer, songwriter, actress and activist Kierra Sheard will be the featured performer for the 2022 Realizing the Dream Concert on Sunday, Jan. 16. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at The University of Alabama’s Moody Music Building Concert Hall. At age nine, Sheard earned a Stellar Award for Best Children’s Performance for “The Will of God.” She honed her skills as a next-generation member of the multi-Grammy Award winning Clark Sisters and launched her professional solo career in 2004, gaining acclaim with her debut album, “I Owe You,” followed by the 2006 “This is Me.” Two years later came “Bold Right Life” and then 2011’s “Free.” Her latest single, “Something Has to Break,” a duet with her mother, gospel icon Karen Clark Sheard, hit No. 1 on two gospel radio charts, topping Billboard’s Gospel Airplay chart and the MediaBase Gospel chart.
Realizing the Dream partner the Tuscaloosa SCLC will sponsor Unity Day activities on Monday, Jan. 17. The Unity Day march will begin at noon at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. The annual Mass Rally will begin at 6 p.m. at First African Baptist Church. All Unity Day activities are free and open to the public.
Additional Realizing the Dream events will take place throughout the year.
In response to concerns surrounding the rising number of COVID cases as a result of the Omicron variant, seating for the Legacy Banquet and Concert will be limited to 50% of capacity for each event, allowing the celebration of the remarkable legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while also addressing the need for social distancing. Concert tickets are $20. Legacy Banquet tickets are $30 for individuals or $125 for a table of five. Dress is semiformal. Tickets will be available online at realizingthedream.ua.edu, beginning Thursday, Jan. 6, at 8 a.m.
UA COVID protocols in place at the time of the events will be followed at the Legacy Banquet and Concert. Additionally, those wishing to have their picture made with Star Jones will be subject to additional requirements of Jones: wear a mask covering the mouth and nose, as well as provide proof of complete COVID vaccination (one shot for Johnson & Johnson; two shots for Moderna and Pfizer). Proof of vaccination options include a completed vaccination card or a scan of said card.
For ticketing information, call 205-348-7111 or email email@example.com. For more information about Realizing the Dream activities and events, visit the website at realizingthedream.ua.edu, or contact Carol Agomo at 205-348-7405 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.