Events to focus on the legacy of MLK


Published: Monday, January 9, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 8, 2006 at 11:02 p.m.
Gainesville and Alachua County plays host to numerous events this week in celebration of a national holiday that stretches through the weekend.
Activities honoring nonviolent activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. kick off Tuesday in hopes of teaching local residents about the power of education, an idea King advocated, said Rodney J. Long, Alachua County commissioner and president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida, the event's sponsor.
"We've gotten away from the values Dr. King espoused," Long said. "You know, treat everybody as you want to be treated. Look out for and help your fellow brothers and sisters.
"Individuals have gotten away from it. America has gotten away from it. We need to get back to it."
In honor of the assassinated civil rights leader, the 22nd annual commemoration will start 6 p.m. Tuesday at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on 100 NE 1st St., he said.
On Wednesday, the MLK Commission will begin the first in a series of workshops on the dangers of youth violence so that citizens and public officials can help combat a "serious problem, he said.
The holiday gets more exciting Saturday at Gainesville's Martin Luther King Jr. Rec Center, on 1028 NE 14th St., when the MLK commission throws an "education symposium," complete with representatives from colleges and scholarship funds across the state, he said.
For the official holiday Monday, Jan. 16, residents plan a commemorative march from the King Memorial Gardens to the MLK Center, where gospel singers will greet the marchers, Long said.
"The holiday isn't supposed to be a chance to relax and do things like you'd do on another holiday," he said. "It's a commemoration, a chance to think and act on the principles that Dr. King taught."
Kendra Grimes, a senior at Eastside High School, lives according to Dr. King's teachings, Long said.
Thanks to her excellence in education, Grimes will serve as the holiday's keynote speaker, speaking before the march at Gainesville's Downtown Community Plaza at 11 a.m., he said.
The events, most of which are free, are important to each citizen in Alachua County, Long said.
"Everybody needs to get involved," he said. "This is not just a black person's holiday. It's an American holiday celebrated by American citizens for an American hero."

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