GREENBELT, Md. (AP) — Building community through civic engagement will be the theme of a gathering of civil rights leaders in Maryland next month.

The Rev. Douglas Sands will give the keynote address at the Jan. 14 gathering in Greenbelt for the 27th annual MSEA Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Program & Minority Recognition Awards.

Sands served as chairman and former member of the Maryland State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The committee advises the commission on discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin. Sands was chairman of the committee from 1996 to 2004.

He currently pastors at Johnsville United Methodist Church and White Rock Methodist Church in Sykesville.

Minority recognition awards for community service and leadership will be presented at the gathering.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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