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Cindy McCain, ASU student awarded MLK Jr. honor for community work

(Photos: AP and ASU)

PHOENIX — Cindy McCain, the wife of U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Evvan Morton, a student at Arizona State University, have been awarded with one of the university’s top honors for community work.

Both McCain and Morton were named as the 2018 Community Servant-Leadership awardees for their influential work in the community, the university announced in a press release.

McCain was given the Servant-Leadership Award, while Morton was honored with the Student Servant-Leadership Award.

The award was part of Arizona State University’s 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. They will be honored at a breakfast ceremony on Jan. 18 on the university’s Tempe campus.

The university said its MLK Jr. Committee chose McCain and Morton to receive the award “for their philosophy of serving first, then leading as a way of expanding service.”

McCain has been an outspoken advocate against human trafficking after she was approached by two victims — two teenage girls — while pumping her gas in Yuma, Arizona.

“I watched the police come and get that guy and save those two girls,” she said in the press release. “Every ounce of work I’ve done was worth it that day.”

McCain now serves as the chair of the McCain Institute Human Trafficking Advisory Council and co-chair of the Arizona Governor’s Council on Human Trafficking.

McCain has rallied around events such as the Super Bowl, which Arizona hosted in 2015, to shed light on the state’s growing human trafficking problem. She has also helped bring light to the issue in Greece and Turkey to prevent refugees from falling prey to traffickers.

“The human rights violation that human trafficking is and does to human beings is not only a violation, but it’s simply inhumane,” McCain said in the press release.

“It just is something that to me, I found it unbelievable when I realized it was going on in my own country. A country that I thought, and still do think, is the best in the world—that somehow this could be taking place.”

On the other hand, Morton, a graduate student at the university, was given the award for her work to address climate change and global warming. She said she started becoming interested in the issue after she began noticing the impact government actions were having on the environment.

“I began learning more about climate change and global warming specifically,” Morton told the university. “I just felt like there was more than needed to be done in that area because I just kept hearing about the problems, but I wasn’t hearing much about solutions in the field.”

Today, Morton is the president of the Black Graduate Student Association at the university. She said she wants to continue to foster her fascination with renewable energy development to help other countries reduce their carbon footprint.

“I’m very interested in working in government because I’ve learned a lot about that many of the decisions specifically in scientific issues are issues pertaining to renewable energy and to climate change and energy development are made by leaders that do not necessarily have knowledge in these fields.”

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