There are many commemorations of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday across Ohio – including the largest in the country, the MLK breakfast in Columbus. Among those observances was a state sponsored event at a Columbus church.
Gov. Mike DeWine appointed what’s been called the most diverse cabinet in recent state history. And he told the audience at the state’s MLK commemoration that he’s proud of that.
“Not just racially diverse, but I’m proud of the variety of backgrounds, experiences that we have represented. It truly gives us strength. It makes us better able to serve this great state," said DeWine.
Nine of the 24 members of DeWine’s cabinet are African-American, including the leaders of ODOT, the Ohio National Guard, Aging, prisons and job and family services.
DeWine also noted one of the six executive orders he signed immediately after his inauguration a year ago extending anti-discrimination policies in state government.
The event also featured the winners of the state's annual oratorical contest.
Here are some excerpts from the speeches of 9-year-old third grader Leah Noelle Jackson of Bedford, 15-year-old freshman Ayla Bella of Columbus, 17-year-old senior Playon Patrick of Columbus and 11-year-old sixth grader Adonia Balqis of Columbus.
The full video of their speeches is here.