In 2012, the MLK Coalition gave the inaugural award to honor our late Program Director, Vanessa Washington-Johnson Bloemen, who kept the Martin Luther King Coalition operating effectively and efficiently for years. In her spirit, this award is given to a young person who has shown the qualities of outstanding leadership, commitment to Dr. King’s principles of practicing social justice and seeking peace.
- 2023: Sarah Naje
- 2020: Manny Content
- 2019: Y.O.U. Program
- 2018: Gabrielle “Gabby” Greaves
- 2013: Selina Taylor
- 2012: Alex Fried
A Tribute to Vanessa Washington-Johnson Bloeman
As a member of the Manchester School Board, Vanessa Johnson always supported and understood that education went beyond the classroom. As former Director of the Office of Youth Services, I attended a number of school board meetings where I witnessed Vanessa’s support for young people. Even in financially lean times, she was an advocate for good nutrition, mentoring, and funding for youth services.
Vanessa also championed the role of parents in the education of their children and she did everything in her power to make Manchester students well rounded students who would contribute to the betterment of our society. She’ll be sorely missed in the Manchester community.
Regis A. Lemaire