Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force selects Brenda Lawrence as 2024 MLK Community Service Award recipient

January 24, 2024

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The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Task Force of Southfield selected former Congresswoman and Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence as the recipient of the 2024 MLK Community Service Award at the 39th Annual Celebration following the Southfield Martin Luther King Day Peace Walk on January 16.  

The MLK Community Service Award honors one individual each year who best exemplifies the qualities of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nominees for the MLK Community Service Award must be committed to the advancement of human and civil rights, active in community service, and reside or work in Southfield or Lathrup Village.

Congresswoman Lawrence had a 30-year career with the United States Postal Service before entering full-time public service as an elected official. In the early-1990s, she served as president, vice president, and secretary of the Southfield Public Schools Board of Education before being elected to the Southfield City Council in 1989. She was elected as Southfield’s first female and African American mayor in 2001, and served in that capacity until 2015.  As mayor, she was invited by the United States House Committee on Oversight and Reform in 2008 to represent United States mayors in testimony about the mortgage crisis and its effect on American communities.

In 2014, Lawrence was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Michigan's 14th congressional district, as Michigan’s only Black member of Congress. She retired from Congress upon her fourth term's expiration in January 2023.

As a Democrat, Lawrence championed issues such as civil rights, women's rights, health care, education, and the environment. She also advocated for foster children, having raised her husband's brothers and welcomed interns from foster care. Lawrence states, “"As a child I always dreamed of growing up to become a champion for our community and fight for civil rights and progressive causes."

For more information, call Dorothy Dean, MLK Community Service Award Chair, at (248) 790-0531 or visit www.mlktaskforcemi.org.