Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced Thursday that state Rep. Darryl Owens, D-Louisville, will be the recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Award.
The longtime public servant and civil rights advocate is as a former Jefferson County Commissioner who is currently serving his fourth term in the state legislature for the 43rd district.
Owens has also been a chief critic of city and county merger, who called for a review of the consolidation after accusing the mayor’s task force of failing to look at critical issues such as economic growth, Metro employee costs and urban services.
Fischer will present the award during a ceremony at the Kentucky Center’s Whitney Hall on January 15, during the “Keepers of the Dream” community arts celebration, which is free to the public.
“I am honored and deeply humbled to receive the 2012 Louisville Metro’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Award. Dr. King set the standard for true public service and he inspires me to continue working on issues that reflect his passion—justice, peace, and equality for all. I am fortunate to live in a community that allows me to pursue these goals every day,” says Owens.
The Louisville attorney has served as past president of the Louisville Legal Aid Society, Louisville NAACP and first vice president of the Louisville Urban League. Owens has also served on the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees.
In 1983, Owens was elected as a commissioner of the Jefferson County Fiscal Court, the first and only African American to serve in this capacity. He was also the first African American to serve as assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and as a member of the Kentucky Workman’s Compensation Board.
“As a pioneering public servant and a tireless advocate for civil and human rights, Darryl Owens has had a profound impact on our city and state,” says Fischer. “Darryl’s strength of convictions and his commitment and involvement in so many issues and organizations has earned him the respect of the community and he is very deserving of this award.”