Colorado Symphony Honors Racial Equity Leaders

Each year, the orchestra joins with the Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission to celebrate contributions made to racial equity



2022 marks the 31st year that the Colorado Symphony, in partnership with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Colorado Holiday Commission, has celebrated four humanitarian leaders in the state. This year, the orchestra honored several new awardees with a VIP reception and a concert celebrating the work of Dr. King.

Among the honorees was Dr. Renee Cousins King, who worked as a pediatrician prior to retiring. Drawing from the estate of her late father, the philanthropist Charles Cousins, Cousins King made a sizeable donation to Colorado's Black American West Museum, which documents the lives of African-Americans during the pioneer era.

Cousins King shared the Rev. Dr. James Peters Humanitarian Award with Janet Damon, who serves as a library services specialist for Denver public schools. She is also the co-founder of Afros and Books, a coalition of four Black librarians who promote African-American literature.

The Colorado Holiday Commission has been operating for 37 years, and in that time has established a reputation for unifying Colorado communities through the promotion and celebration of the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

The concert, conducted by Scott O’Neil, included two of Dr. King's favorite pieces, “Hymn to Freedom” and “This Little Light of Mine,” performed by pianist Purnell Steen and the Five Points Ambassadors.