BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Gospel concerts, marches, breakfasts, scholarship awards banquets, plays, festivals and worship services are some of the ways local residents will celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 2020.
Dr. Martin Luther King was born in Atlanta on Jan. 15, 1929. He was murdered on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. This year’s official federal holiday is on Monday, Jan. 20.
Local events are scheduled in Daytona Beach, Deltona, DeLand and Ormond Beach.
Why it’s important
Event organizers say that it is important as ever that we honor the civil rights icon.
“It’s important to keep Dr. King’s Dream alive, especially for future generations so they won’t forget him and what he and others did to pave the way for them to have what they have today,” commented Kim-Brown Crawford, committee chair of Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration For Florida Inc.
Mario Davis, executive director of the Volusia MLK Committee stated, “It’s important to celebrate his legacy because it allows us to do what we can do today.
“We can be united, work together for common causes and have dialogue with our differences. We try to educate the youth and let them know what he instilled in us. We also want to let the youth know where we can go if we’re not careful.”
The Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration for Florida, Inc is a 501© (3) non-profit that puts on MLK celebration events in Daytona while the Volusia MLK Committee handles events in DeLand.
In Daytona, this year’s events focuses on youth involvement.
Brown-Crawford emphasized, “We really want the youth involved. We want them to know Dr. King, his legacy, the civil rights movement and more. If we don’t show them, they will forget. We also want local youth organizations to attend these events, especially the march.”
Gospel Explosion and banquet
Daytona events kick off with a Gospel Explosion at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 101 N. Halifax Ave.
An MLK Scholarship Banquet & Fundraiser is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Hard Rock Hotel, 918 N. Atlantic Ave. Tickets are $60. Seven local high school students will receive $1,000 scholarships for college.
“We’d really like for the community to come out and support this event, celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and support our youth. The proceeds help the young adults with college tuition,” noted Brown-Crawford.
Worship service, breakfast, march
On Sunday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m., local clergy will share “7 Words from The King” during an interfaith worship service at Master’s Domain Church of God in Christ at 511 Freemont Ave.
On Monday, Jan. 20, the MLK Day Breakfast is at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, 580 George W. Engram Blvd. It starts at 8:30 a.m.
Following the breakfast, there will be a march at 10 a.m. and the MLK Community Worship Service at 10:45 a.m. at Allen Chapel.
“Community support has been great. We really want the community to come out and enjoy these events while honoring Dr. King with us,” said BrownCrawford.
For more information or to be a sponsor, contact Kim Brown-Crawford at 386481-1108 or visit www.mlkdaytonabeach.org.
DeLand events start on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. with the “Strawberry Letter” stage play at DeLand High School, 800 N. Hill Avenue. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
On Jan. 19, the Community Worship Service is at Mt. Calvary Free Will Baptist Church at 710 W. Cincinnati Ave. The service is at 11a.m. There will be a guest speaker.
Later that day from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m., East Side Park will be renamed after DeLand native and former NFL player Tra Thomas.
Thomas starred for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played college ball at Florida State and high school ball at DeLand High. The event will include free food and entertainment from a deejay.
Breakfast, march and festival
On Jan. 29, the signature MLK Day Breakfast is at Rinker Field House on the campus of Stetson University at 9 a.m. Tra Thomas will be the speaker and STAR 94.5 FM radio personality Jo Jo O’Neal will be the host.
The breakfast is followed by a march from Stetson through downtown DeLand to Earl Brown Park at 11 a.m.
Events conclude that day with a festival in Earl Brown Park from noon until 4 p.m. with food, entertainment, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and more.
For more information on DeLand events, call Mario Davis at 386-675-6595.
In Deltona, the Dreamkeepers’ annual breakfast celebration is 9 a.m. Jan. 18 at 640 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Author, historian and civil rights activist Rodney L. Hurst will be the speaker.
For more information, call Mike Williams at 386804-6136.
In Ormond Beach, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Breakfast Celebration is from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Jan. 20 at the South Ormond Neighborhood Recreation Center at 176 Division Ave.
There will be prayer and a free breakfast.
For more information, contact Tina Carlyle at 386527-5918.