Blend of in-person, virtual events scheduled for MLK holiday

Published 7:16 pm Wednesday, January 12, 2022

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY β€” The city’s Human Relations Council will host a mix of in-person and virtual events over the weekend and on Monday to honor the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The Human Relations Council says it will follow the same model for the 2021 celebration. This year’s theme is “Keep Moving Forward: United for Service, Peace and Equity.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed during the third Monday in January each year. King is known as the face of nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s during protests of racial discrimination in federal and state law. He was assassinated in 1968, and former President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983. It became officially observed in all 50 states in 2000.

To kick the weekend off, the Human Relations Council will host a drive-thru Community Resource Fair, where organizations specializing in health, education, substance abuse and other supportive services gather to help local families as students return to school. Information about senior services will also be available. That event will take place at Salisbury Civic Center, located at 315 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue South.

On Sunday, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church will host its 45th annual celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, though the ceremony will be held virtually on the church’s Facebook page at 3 p.m. The church’s Facebook can be found by visiting facebook.com/mtzion.baptistchurch.54.

Dr. Tony Watlington, superintendent of Rowan-Salisbury Schools, will be the guest speaker, with Rev. Nilous Avery II as host pastor.

The church will also host its 2022 Humanitarian Service awards ceremony. Recipients this year include Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black, community advocate Renetta McNeely and Krystal Stukes, founder and owner of Triple Threat Dance and Charm. Awards will also be given to community groups Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church and Delta Sigma Theta sorority β€” Salisbury Alumnae Chapter.

On Monday, the city will celebrate a Community Day of Service and Share the Warmth coat drive at Kelsey Scott Park, located at 1920 Old Wilkesboro Road, beginning at 11 a.m. Masks and social distancing are required.

Later at 2 p.m. on Monday, the Human Relations Council will begin its virtual program, which can be viewed via the city’s Facebook page or via WSRG-TV. The guest speaker is Deborah Maxwell, the newly elected president of the North Carolina NAACP and the first woman to serve such a position.

Rev. Dee Ellison, chair of the Human Relations Council, said she is excited to hear from Maxwell and encourages local residents to tune in and continue to “find ways to serve and grow our communities through service and education with your help.”

β€œIt is our hope that in remembering Dr. King, we understand that as a community we must find ways to reach our communities on many levels to move forward with an agenda that honors every individual, and recognizes that there is great work still to be done in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Ellison said.