KING CENTER PLANS FOR 30th MLK HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE AND CHALLENGES PUBLIC TO EMBRACE ‘KING’S LEGACY OF COURAGE’

1/11/2015

ATLANTA . . . King Center CEO Bernice A. King today announced plans for the 2015 commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.  The 10-Day observance includes a broad range of unique programs, activities and events, beginning Thursday, January 8, and concluding on Monday, January 19, the 30th MLK holiday. (A detailed schedule is attached to this release.)

This August, we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This is a landmark piece of legislation signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. According to the United States Department of Justice, the Act is considered to be the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the United States of America. My father referred to the act as “a great step forward in removing all of the remaining obstacles to the right to vote” said Dr. Bernice A. King. 

The Voting Rights Act, a monumental piece of legislation, did not occur as matter of happenstance. The legislation was enacted as a result of the courage, the blood, the struggle, and the persistence of men, women, and youth who had an unyielding faith to persevere in the face of almost insurmountable odds. The valor exhibited by SCLC and SNCC workers, as well as hundreds of volunteers, as they stepped on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965, and ultimately into the pages of history, is a testament to their faith and their undeterred desire to enjoy the blessings of democracy.     

It is especially fitting, in light of this year being the 50th anniversary of bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights Act, that the theme for this year’s national King Holiday be “Remember! Celebrate! Act! King’s Legacy of Courage for our World.”

King Center CEO, Bernice A. King stated, “I am especially grateful for the continued commitment of the businesses, corporations and individuals who are supporting this year’s Annual Salute to Greatness Dinner.  The proceeds from the dinner, which are critically important, help the Center to continue its primary mission of educating the world about Dr. King’s nonviolent leadership philosophy and methodology, which we call Nonviolence 365.”

A list of the some of the 2015 Salute to Greatness Sponsors is provided below:

The Coca-Cola Company, The Ford Motor Company Fund, Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC,Chick-Fil-A Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, Kia Motor America, Inc., Asante Restaurant, Alabama Power, Delta Air Lines, Inc., Newell Rubbermaid, The Target Corporation, and The Home Depot. 

KING CENTER 2015 KING HOLIDAY OBSERVANCE

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Friday, January 9, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The King Center’s Freedom Hall AtriumThe 2015 King Holiday Observance Kick-Off and ReceptionThis event officially launches The King Holiday observance and provides an opportunity for The King Center to thank its friends and supporters for their ongoing commitment to continuing the legacy of Dr. King. The public is invited free of charge.  Contact Tangela Gray at 404-526-8985 or tgray@thekingcenter.org.

Saturday, January 10 at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Assembly RoomA Beloved Community Talk. The Race Factor – Participants will engage in an open dialogue about the Beloved Community as we discuss the “Race Factor” and its impact on what Dr. King called our “World House.” Discussions will include “What is the Beloved Community?,”  “Criminal Justice and Policing Practicing,” and “The Truths, The Lies and Myths.”  Participants will engage in a conversation with panel members about probing racial justice issues with human rights and community leaders.  Then, some of whom are listed below, will discuss together issues of race and identify possible solutions for beginning to address the problem. Some of the participants include:

  • Cedrick Alexander, Ph.D., Chief of Police, Dekalb County, Georgia
  • Tim Wise-author of Colorblind, educator and speaker
  • Former members of white supremacist groups
  • Gov. Robert Ehlrich—former Governor of the State of Maryland & activist regarding treatment of inmates in the prison system
  • Elle Lucier- Participant/Organizer/Activist for the its Bigger that You movement- she is a singer who has brought over 5, 000 people to CNN to protest nonviolently against police brutality.
  • Mary Pat Hector-Director of Sharpton’s youth action network 610.  Founder of youth in action
  • Becky Rafter-Director, Georgia for WAND (Women’s Action New Direction)

The event is free of charge and open to the public. Contact: Carmen Coya at (404) 408-2103 or ccoya@thekingcenter.org.

Sunday, January 11 from 2:45 -6:00 p.m. at The King Center’s Freedom Hall Auditorium– “Leading with Courage: A Discussion and Book-Signing” with Kimberly Johnson, signing her book No Fear for Freedom: The Story of the Friendship 9;Several of the original “Friendship 9” members have also confirmed their attendance. Dr. Cornel West will be signing and discussing his new book, The Radical King;  Mrs. Christine King Farris will sign My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Through it All: Reflections on My Life, My Family and My Faith. Dr. Bernice A. Kingwill sign “Desert Rose: The Life and Legacy of Coretta Scott King” (written by her aunt, the late Mrs. Edythe Scott Bagley, with forward by Bernice A. King) and her book, Hard Questions, Heart Answers; Dr. Angela Farris Watkins, niece of Dr. King, will sign copies of My Uncle Martin’s Words for America: Martin Luther King, Jr’s Niece Tells How He Made a Difference and Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Six Guiding Beliefs (As Told By His Niece; Ms. Alveda King, another niece of Dr. King, will sign her book, King Rules: Ten Truths for You, Your Family and Our Nation to Prosper. Open to the Public, free of charge. Books purchased at The King Center will be signed. Contact Barbara Harrison (404) 526-8911 or programs@thekingcenter.org.

Tuesday, January 13, at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm at The King Center’s Freedom Hall AuditoriumChoose Nonviolence Now! No Other Way! Students with King -- K-12 students have the opportunity to engage with members of the King Family and individuals who knew and worked with Dr. King and Mrs. Coretta Scott King.  Free and open to K-12 students and chaperones. Contacts: Barbara Harrison (404) 526-8911 or bharrison@thekingcenter.orgor Stephanie Thomas at sthomas@thekingcenter.org.

Wednesday, January 14 at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm at The King Center’s Freedom Hall Auditorium- – Choose Nonviolence Now! No Other Way! Students with King -- K-12 students have the opportunity to engage with members of the King Family and individuals who knew and worked with Dr. King and Mrs. Coretta Scott King.  Free and open to K-12 students and chaperones. Contacts: Barbara Harrison (404) 526-8911 or bharrison@thekingcenter.orgor Stephanie Thomas at sthomas@thekingcenter.org.

Wednesday, January 14 from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Boulevard and Auburn Avenue Fire StationMillenials with King.Courageous Leadership Atlanta.  This is a King Center experience that exposes young adults to Dr. King’s nonviolent leadership philosophy.  Free of charge, open to the public. Contact: Vonetta West (404) 526-8972 or vwest@thekingcenter.org.

Thursday, January 15 at 10:00 AM and 1:00 pm at The King Center’s Freedom Hall Auditorium- Choose Nonviolence Now! No Other Way! Students with King -- K-12 students have the opportunity to engage with members of the King Family and individuals who knew and worked with Dr. King and Mrs. Coretta Scott King.  Free and open to K-12 students and chaperones. Contacts: Barbara Harrison (404) 526-8911 or bharrison@thekingcenter.org or Stephanie Thomas at sthomas@thekingcenter.org.

Friday, January 16 at 10:00 am at the Georgia State Capitol RotundaState of Georgia Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council Program. Featuring tributes to Dr. King by Dr. Christine King Farris and other Georgia elected officials and community leaders. Free of charge, open to the public. Contact Barbara Harrison (404) 526-8911 or bharrison@thekingcenter.org.

Friday, January 16, 7:00 pm at Ebenezer Baptist Church Heritage SanctuaryMusical Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Free of charge, open to the public. Contact: Jamida Orange (770) 560-1959 or mlkmarchcommittee@yahoo.com.

Saturday, January 17, at The Hyatt-Regency Hotel.The Annual Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner. Reception 6:00 p.m., Dinner 7:00 pm. The King Center’s primary fund-raising event and the largest annual dinner held in Atlanta during the calendar year. The King Center will recognize President Bill Clintonfor his extraordinary work with The Clinton Foundation, including his bi-partisan efforts with the Clinton Global Initiative, by presenting him with the Salute to Greatness Award. The 2015 corporate honoree is Kaiser Permanentebecause of its outstanding philanthropic efforts and commitment to diversity in the workplace, including the service that their employees provide through the corporation’s Community Giving Campaign, with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Bernard J. Tyson. Kaiser Permanente accepting.

The King Center will also present two Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. (“Advancing Nonviolence through Generations of Exceptional Leadership”) Awards at the dinner, recognizing a young leader (ages 12-25) and a youth organization/initiative that exemplifies exceptional leadership in the areas of peace, social justice and nonviolent social change. The 2015 youth recipient will be 13-year old, Mr. Aidan Thomas Hornaday, founder of Aidan Cares, for his commitment to helping those in need through philanthropic and humanitarian efforts, while “teaching a generation to give,” and encouraging parents to teach their children to give. The award recipient for the youth initiative is the Tangelo Park Program, founded by Mr. Harris Rosen.  The initiative was selected “because it is one of our nation’s most dynamic and creative philanthropic projects and is a powerful example of how focusing humanitarian efforts, in a single geographic location, helps to transform lives,” said Ms. King. Contact: Barbara Harrison (404) 526-8911 or bharrison@thekingcenter.org.

Monday, January 19th at 10:00 am at Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary– The Annual Commemorative Service. Dr. Gwendolyn E. Boyd, and ordained minister and the first female president of Alabama State University, will be the keynote speaker at The King Center’s 47th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service. The service, commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 86th birthday anniversary and the 30thth holiday observance in his honor, is the “flagship” religious service marking the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday. Dr. Boyd served as the 22nd National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an organization of 250,000 members.  Joining Dr. Boyd will be David Oyelowo, the actor who played Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, the biopic about the Voting Rights Movement in that city in the 1960s. Grammy Award-winner, Sandi Patty, will bring a special musical tribute. Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United States, Mathilde Mukantabana, will bring special greetings.  Consulate Generals from nearly thirty countries will ring bells at the conclusion of the service in honor of King’s Legacy of Courage.  The program is televised locally every year by Fox5 Atlanta. Open to the public, free of charge, but seating is limited. Contact Barbara Harrison (404) 526-8911 or bharrison@thekingcenter.org.

Monday, January 19th, all day across Atlanta. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Projectsponsored by Hands on Atlanta. Contact (404) 979-2800 or www.handsonatlanta.org.

Monday, January 19th at 2:00 pm. The Annual King Holiday March and Rally.A mass march from Peachtree Street to Jackson St., via Auburn Avenue lead by community leaders and concluding with a rally in front of the King Center. Contact Jamida Orange (770) 560-1959 or mlkmarchcommittee@yahoo.com.

Monday, January 19th at 3:00-4:30 pm. King Family Book Signing.Mrs. Christine King Farris will sign My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Through it All: Reflections on My Life, My Family and My Faith. Dr. Angela Farris Watkins, niece of Dr. King, will sign copies of My Uncle Martin’s Words for America: Martin Luther King, Jr’s Niece Tells How He Made a Difference and Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Six Guiding Beliefs (As Told By His Niece); Ms. Alveda King, another niece of Dr. King, will sign her book, King Rules: Ten Truths for You, Your Family and Our Nation to Prosper. Open to the Public, free of charge. Only books purchased at The King Center will be signed. Contact Barbara Harrison (404) 526-8911 or programs@thekingcenter.org.

All King Center events, except for the Annual Salute to Greatness Annual Awards Dinner, are free of charge. For further information about The King Center’s MLK birthday observance program, please contact Bunnie Jackson-Ransom at (404) 505-8188 or via email at bjr@fclassinc.com or Steve Klein at (404) 526-8944 or sklein@thekingcenter.org.

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