PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – As the weekend of service continues ahead of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Urban League of Hampton Roads will take a moment to honor community leaders.

At 8 a.m. Monday, you can tune in to watch the award ceremony live. It is virtual this year, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

“It’s a really exciting a well deserved list of award honorees this year,” said Gilbert Bland, President & CEO of Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc.

The Urban League of Hampton Roads will award several community leaders; including Rep. Bobby Scott and State Sen. Louise Lucas.

Both long time lawmakers committed to the betterment of black and brown communities.

“We’re blessed in this community to have a number of people who we believe are living the dream and really representing the legacy of Dr. King,” Bland said.

The organization will recognize those who make a positive influence on education, employment, health, and housing in our area, highlighting the work of Shawn Avery, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council; William Downey, former Riverside Health System president and CEO; Steve Lawson with the Lawson companies and George Birdsong, president and CEO of Birdsong Peanuts.

“Steve Lawson of the Lawson company, is a tremendous developer of housing, particularly affordable housing in our community,” Bland said. “George Birdsong, will receive the philanthropy award. Mr. Birdsong has been for decades one of the great philanthropists in the area.”

Former Norfolk politician, pastor and WWII veteran Dr. Joseph Green junior will receive the lifetime achievement award.

“Those are achievements well worth honoring and recognizing,” Bland said.

Former WAVY-TV 10 marketing account executive and production intern Marckel Bonds will receive the young professional of the year award.

Also, Anthony Sandifer, a passionate advocate for young Blacks, will be honored as the Guild Member of the year.

“We want to community to know that if they can do it, others have the opportunity too,” Bland said.

Portsmouth Native Vice Admiral Kevin Scott will give the keynote address.

“We have a local American hero coming to speak and inspire,” Bland said.

Watch the 39th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. virtual community leaders awards at 8 a.m. Jan. 16 here.