• Kenneth Crooks, Jr.
    Executive Director Emeritus

  • As times change, what previously was a ‘dialogue about race’ has evolved into a holistic approach to diversity in our community and beyond.

    One Columbus, has also evolved, strengthening its core mission: striving to inspire, motivate, promote diversity, and ensure that each member of the community is respected and valued. Recognizing and appreciating diversity is an obligation to which each of us must be committed. If we accept and act on this challenge, then Columbus will truly become a ‘One Columbus’.

3rd Annual Recognition Dinner Press Release

One Columbus Dinner to Highlight MLK Week

Carmen Cavezza to be Honored; Best-selling Author to Speak


The Third Annual One Columbus Recognition Dinner is scheduled for Thursday, January 18, 2007, which will be a celebratory end to a week of events that start with Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

This year’s dinner will feature author Ruby K. Payne, who has written or co-authored more than a dozen books, including her seminal book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty,” which has sold more than 800,000 copies since its release in 1996.

The flagship event for One Columbus, the dinner also will honor one of the organization’s most ardent supporters, Carmen Cavezza.

Cavezza, former Columbus city manager and former commanding general of three military installations including Fort Benning, is now the executive director of Columbus State University’s Cunningham Center for Leadership Development.

Cavezza has been involved with the One Columbus since its beginning in 2002 and has served on the board of directors until 2005 after which he was elevated to the organization’s exclusive Advisory Committee.

“There is no better person in our community to honor than Carmen Cavezza because of his untiring commitment to fairness, equity, and dedication to equal rights for all citizens,” said Kenneth Crooks, executive director of One Columbus.

Cavezza has been a fixture in Columbus after completing 33 years of service in the United States Army with extensive assignments in Asia, including two years in Vietnam.

He holds master’s degrees from the University of Miami and George Washington University and a doctorate in political science from George Washington University. In June 1994, he received an honorary Doctor of Military Science Degree from the Citadel.

When Cavezza retired from the military in October 1994, he served as the executive director of Columbus ’96, a non-profit corporation established to support the 1996 Olympic Softball Venue in Columbus, Georgia, which subsequent to the Olympics, converted to the Greater Columbus Sports and Events Council. In May 1997, he became Columbus’ city manager, a post he held until moving to Columbus State University in January of 2005 as Executive Director of the Cunningham Center for Leadership Development.

“Carmen Cavezza is a man of commitment,” said CSU President Frank Brown. “His love of his community and his great work with One Columbus follows his superior service with the City of Columbus and his continuing leadership at Columbus State University. We are all fortunate to have him on the Columbus team.”

Cavezza will be presented with the Unity Chalice Award, which goes to a person or organization that has demonstrated outstanding service or activity in the field of race relations.

The dinner will also include the presentation of the Richard R. Miles Award, which goes to a high school student who has demonstrated outstanding service or activity in the field of race relations.

Crooks said in addition to honoring outstanding local residents, the One Columbus Recognition Dinner is an educational event that has developed a reputation for bringing together the most diverse audience of any major activity of this sort in the Valley. That audience will again hear a nationally known speaker that offers a message of challenge and hope.

The dinner will be held in the Columbus Convention and Trade Center at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at WTVM television station on Wynnton Road ,Ruth Ann’s Restaurant, The Family Center on 15th Avenue and Fourth Street Baptist Church on 5th Street.

For more information, see the One Columbus website www.onecolumbus.org or contact Ken Crooks at 706-315-016