Harlean V. Carter is to be named the 2024 Dreamer Award recipient on Saturday, January 13, 2024, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Ceremony following the parade (approximately 4:00 p.m.).

The Dreamer Award is a recognition of a person whose achievements and outstanding leadership has embodied every aspect within the Lancaster community. This award recognizes those who have gone above and beyond in playing many roles with helping in moving forward the Lancaster community in education, health, and sustainability.

Lisa Roddey, Events and Promotions Manager, expresses that “We are thrilled to announce that Harlean Carter has been chosen as this year’s Dreamer Award recipient. Harlean’s selfless dedication to making a positive impact has touched the lives of countless individuals. She is a worthy choice for this prestigious award.”

Harlean V. Carter, a native of Philadelphia, has dedicated her career to law enforcement, with a focus on community-oriented policing. After serving as one of the first female officers with the Philadelphia Police Department, Carter relocated to Lancaster, SC in 1989 and joined the Lancaster Police Department the following year.

Throughout her time with the Lancaster Police Department, Carter made it her mission to effect change and progress. Some of her notable accomplishments include establishing the first Police and Clergy Group, leading the first Citizen’s Police Academy Class, and being a member of the inaugural graduating class of the Kingian Nonviolence Course at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.

Carter’s hard work and dedication earned her a promotion to Chief of Police in 2010, becoming the first African American female to serve in this capacity. She also held positions as Second Vice-President, First Vice-President, and President of the South Carolina Chiefs of Police Association.

Carter retired from the Lancaster Police Department in 2016 but continues to serve her community as an investigator for the South Carolina Sixth Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which oversees prosecutions in Lancaster, Chester, and Fairfield counties. She remains an inspiration to all those committed to law enforcement and community service.

Carter’s unwavering commitment to the Lancaster community defined her career. Her empathy and understanding of the struggles faced by her neighbors motivated her to empower those around her. She tirelessly devoted her time and energy to making a positive difference, and her acts of kindness impacted the lives of countless individuals. Her legacy of hope, equality, and empowerment will continue to inspire and uplift future generations.

Councilwomen and chair of the MLK Committee, Jackie Harris, says “Carter’s remarkable commitment to the Lancaster community exemplifies her career and serves as a testament to her receipt of this award. Despite the many challenges she has faced along the way, Carter has remained steadfast in her commitment to making a difference. Her resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit have made her a role model to many, and her impact on our community cannot be overstated.”

Join us for a weekend of festivities starting Saturday, January 13th and Sunday, January 14th as Lancaster hosts its Annual “It Starts With Me” Parade and Ceremony to celebrate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The parade is set to begin at 3:00 p.m. in Downtown Lancaster and will travel South Main Street. Right after the parade, the MLK Multicultural Ceremony commences at 4:00 p.m. at the Barr Street Auditorium, located at 612 E. Meeting St. in Lancaster, SC. During the ceremony, the winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” Student Essay Contest will be announced and featured. With the first-ever Moving the Dream Forward Community Celebration taking place at the Cultural Arts Center beginning at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, January 14th, we’re thrilled to have Christopher Singleton as our special guest speaker.

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