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December 12 2013

Operation HOPE Founder Recognized on 58th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

John Hope Bryant presented with the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy award from the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute for continuing the struggle for equality and empowerment

ATLANTA – December 12, 2013 – In observance of the 58th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute (SYLDI) in partnership with Alabama State University presented Operation HOPE founder John Hope Bryant with the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Leadership Award, recognizing his continuous efforts to further the advancement of under-resourced communities.

The event was held at Alabama State University and the award was presented by SYLDI Director Doris Crenshaw and King Center CEO and daughter of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Reverend Dr. Bernice A. King. Activities included the Rosa Parks Luncheon were Bryant, along with other dynamic individuals and youth were honored, followed by an evening Bus Boycott Interfaith Service at Old Ship AME Zion Church featuring the charismatic Reverend Otis Moss. Dr. King provided the keynote, highlighting her work with Operation HOPE.

“What gave people the spark, the inspiration and a hope for change was Montgomery,” said Bernice King. “I believe that is a critical turning point for our nation, and perhaps ultimately the world, so (I am) co-chairing Project 5117 ... as we take this movement around the world.”

Project 5117 is a new program by Operation HOPE that combines four different initiatives with the goal educating youth and adults about financial literacy and reducing poverty, dramatically by the year 2020.

 “This award underscores Operation HOPE's 20 plus year commitment to financial literacy empowerment as a bridge from civil rights to ‘silver rights’ for all and cements Operation HOPE’s link to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work to eradicate poverty, said John Hope Bryant. “I am deeply touched by this honor because it came from an organization that continues the youth focused work of the original Montgomery Improvement Association, which was Dr. King's first organizational leadership movement. Deeply touched because this was on the occasion of the 58th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and followed almost immediately our HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit, which framed Operation HOPE’s new initiative, Project 5117, which seeks to continue the unfinished poverty eradication work of Dr. King. Deeply touched because Dr. King's daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King (also CEO of the King Center, and a board member for Operation HOPE), was also there in Montgomery and chose to present this special award to me."

The program also included panelists: Shivani Soni, assistant professor of biological sciences at ASU; the Rev. Kathy McFadden, pastor of Old Ship African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; Margaret Dureke, founder and president of Women Empowered to Achieve the Impossible, and Valda Montgomery, retired associate professor in the clinical doctorate of physical therapy program at ASU.

This year marks civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks’ 100th birthday, and 58 years since her historic refusal to give up her seat to a white man aboard a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama in defiance of the state’s segregation laws. The incident led to the arrest of Rosa Parks, followed by a bus boycott that ended in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that ended segregation on public buses. Then president, Martin Luther King, Jr., who coordinated the boycott, went on to become the most prominent civil rights leader as on the civil rights leaders of our times.  

During the event, more than 15 new commitments to advance Project 5117 were made by attendees in support of the effort.


Pictured: HOPE Founder, Chairman, and CEO John Hope Bryant holds the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Leadership Award.