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South Tucson judge gets Drum Major Award

For service in spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.

South Tucson City Court Judge Ronald Wilson displays the plaque he was given Thursday as recipient of the 29th annual Drum Major Award.

South Tucson City Court Judge Ronald Wilson displays the plaque he was given Thursday as recipient of the 29th annual Drum Major Award.

South Tucson Judge Ronald Wilson, who Thursday received the 2009 Drum Major Award, said that he, “like brother Martin,” wants to be remembered for his service.

The 29th annual award was presented to Wilson by Betty Liggins during the Tucson-Southern Arizona Black Chamber of Commerce’s Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast at the Hotel Arizona, 181 W. Broadway. Liggins was the recipient of the first Drum Major award in 1980.

Although born six months after King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, Wilson said it was an honor to be recognized for his community service in remembrance of King’s work.

Wilson has been presiding judge of South Tucson’s City Court since 2002. He works with the Boys & Girls Club, the National Justice Foundation and many young adults at risk in the Tucson community, said Clarence Boykins, president of the Black Chamber of Commerce.

Wilson was the 2006 Tucson Business Edge 40 Under 40 Man of the Year.

The chamber has been giving the Drum Major Award for the past 29 years, Boykins said, to community members who “make things a little bit better for our community.”

He spoke to the dozens of attendees about the significance of the events that will tie together the King holiday weekend with Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration.

“Monday, we will celebrate a person who gave it all so that the person that we hope will give us all could celebrate on the 20th,” Boykins said.

His speech included anecdotes of a time when “a person who looked like me was not equal here,” to a time when an African-American man born from a multicultural relationship will be “the most powerful individual in the world.”

Boykins finished his emotional speech saying “It’s our time. It’s our time. It’s our time.”

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