James Edwards, executive director of Grand Valley’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, was selected by the Grand Rapids Urban League as the recipient of its highest honor, the 2014 Drum Major Award.
The award is in recognition of a speech made by Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”
King recognized the importance of the “drum major instinct” that drives people to lead, and that those who serve others and put justice before gain are the greatest leaders.
“Dr. James Edwards II is most deserving of this honor from the Greater Grand Rapids Urban League,” said George Grant Jr., dean of Grand Valley’s College of Community and Public Service. “Dr. Edwards has been an advocate for social justice, diversity, changing systems, and providing opportunities for people to achieve their dreams.”