CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Jan. 10, 2017) - The Southeast's largest celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) begins in Charlotte this Saturday, Jan. 14, with three days of free, family friendly events designed to promote inclusiveness in our community.
A full schedule of events is available online at http://charlottenc.gov/mlk.
"Our community continues to heal after last September's protests and demonstrations," said LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte City Council member and co-chair of the organizing committee for the 2017 Carolinas HealthCare System MLK National Holiday Celebration. "The MLK weekend is an opportunity to recognize the grassroots leaders who are addressing the frustration expressed by the demonstrators, while we also celebrate the growing diversity of our city and county."
The weekend events begin Saturday, Jan. 14, at 10 a.m. with the 31st annual MLK holiday parade through Uptown Charlotte. More than 100 marching bands, step teams and other organizations will travel along Tryon Street, beginning at Ninth Street and ending at Stonewall Street.
"The parade is an exciting event which will feature as grand marshals many of the people who led the community's response to the September demonstrations," said Delores Reid-Smith, co-chair of the Celebration organizing committee. "The parade down Tryon Street is a great way to show appreciation for their leadership while joining in the spirit of the King Holiday."
Students from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will honor the legacy of Dr. King's advocacy of nonviolent protests through poetry, dance and works of art. This program, held on Monday, Jan. 16, at 11 a.m. inside the Halton Theater at Central Piedmont Community College, allows students to connect Dr. King's legacy with current events. It is the culminating event for Charlotte-Mecklenburg's holiday festivities.
The 2017 Carolinas HealthCare System MLK National Holiday Celebration will also include:
- Hands On Charlotte's MLK Call to Service, a drop-in community service event beginning at noon on Saturday, Jan. 14, at three locations: East Mecklenburg High School, Piedmont Open IB Middle School and Blythe Elementary School. The event benefits several Charlotte-Mecklenburg nonprofits.
- MLK March of Commitment, beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15, from First Ward Elementary School. Participants in the march to Marshal Park will be asked to chant or sing the themes and ideas they view as important to Charlotte's move toward a more just community. The March will be followed by the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Marshall Park.
About the Charlotte-Mecklenburg MLK National Holiday Celebration
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in celebrating and promoting the worth of every human being. In his pursuit of equal rights by non-violent means, King encouraged diverse cultures to live together in a spirt of love, understanding and service to one another. In that same spirit, the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, through their Community Relations Committee, came together to expand our community's observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg MLK National Holiday Celebration. Through these events, we celebrate those who are committed to carrying King's legacy forward from generation to generation.
Organizing partners of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg MLK National Holiday Celebration include Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Mecklenburg Park and Recreation, Johnson C. Smith University, Hands On Charlotte and members of the faith community. Events are sponsored by Carolinas HealthCare System. Additional support has been provided by Food Lion and McDonalds.
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