King Week celebrates MLK legacy

Published: Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Although he is a household name worldwide, the argument could be made that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an Alachua County hero.

In fact, he was a local hero to every state, county and town in America, for rarely does a single person's actions directly better the lives of so many people simultaneously.

Now, 40 years after King's assassination, Gainesville's community is making sure that his dream continues to thrive locally.

While there is an event scheduled for Sunday, Tuesday officially marks the first day of "King Celebration 2008," two-week's worth of events commemorating the life and work of the civil rights leader. This year's theme is "justice for all".

"Our theme is interwoven throughout the celebration," said County Commissioner Rodney Long, chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Florida, Inc., who is hosting the events. "We really want people to reflect on whether or not we have justice for all on many different levels."

The kick-off event includes a speech by the Rev. Dr. DeForest Soaries. A national leader in faith-based community development and New Jersey's first African-American secretary of state, Soaries also facilitated discussion during last year's scandal between radio pundit Don Imus and the Rutgers women's basketball team, for which Soaries serves as chaplain.

"He will certainly bring a unique perspective to our community with his extensive international experience and university-oriented background," said Long.

Later in the week, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, the country's first African-American U.S. surgeon general, will speak about health care at the 23rd Annual Hall of Fame banquet, which will induct this year's honorees, Sister Hazel of Sister Hazel's Angels of Mercy and Buchholz High School senior LeNonar Elaina Walton.

More highlights will include a symbolic march downtown to the Martin Luther King Center, a gospel music program and an observance for the late Coretta Scott King.

The complete schedule of events for "King Celebration 2008" follows:

Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration: 11 a.m. Sunday at Mount Olive Primitive Baptist Church, 510 NE 15th St.

2008 Press Conference: Noon Monday at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Gardens, downtown Gainesville.

King Celebration '08 Kickoff Program: Featuring keynote speaker the Rev. Dr. DeForest Soaries, 6 p.m. Tuesday at the St. Augustine Church and Catholic Student Center, 1738 W. University Ave. Free and open to the public. (375-4850)

Food for the Soul Lunch Series: "Waking Up From 'The Dream' ... Were the Boondocks Right About MLK?": 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday at the Institute of Black Culture, University of Florida campus.

Café Cultural: Chavez and the Hispanic-Latino Civil Rights Movement: 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Culture, UF campus.

Community Building and Activism Workshop: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Institute of Black Culture, UF campus.

2008 Black History and Cultural Brain Bowl: 7 p.m. Thursday at the MLK Multi-Purpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St.

MLK Educational Forum: "Has The Dream Been Realized?": 7 p.m. Thursday, Reitz Union, Room 282, UF campus.

Affordable Housing Forum, 7 p.m. Friday at the MLK Multi-Purpose Center: 1028 NE 14th St.

Educational Crisis Task Force M.O.R.E.: Initiative Charrette will be addressing ways to infuse African-American history and reduce the drop-out rates in the school system, 8:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at the MLK Multi-Purpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St. Free to the public. (376-9966)

The 23rd Annual Hall of Fame Banquet: Featuring keynote speaker Dr. Jocelyn Elders, 6 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Paramount Resort and Conference Center at 2900 SW 13th St. This year's inductees are Sister Hazel Williams of Sister Hazel's Angels of Mercy and Buchholz High School senior LeNonar Elaina Walton. $50 donation. (264-6956)

22nd Annual Awards Celebration: Featuring speaker Farai Chideya, 6 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom, UF campus.

The National Holiday Kick-off Program and the Annual Commemorative March: Featuring an address from LeNonar Elaina Walton, the recipient of the Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship, noon Jan. 21 at the Downtown Community Plaza then proceed at 1 p.m. to the MLK Memorial Gardens, 401 E. University Ave. Free to the public. (514-1275 or 246-1739)

The National Holiday Celebration and Gospel Program Featuring national recording artist Beverly Camps-Crawford and several other artists, 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the MLK Multi-purpose Center, 1028 NE 14th St. Free to the public. (380-9119)

The Coretta Scott King Observance Program: Featuring a speech by JoAnna Duncan, a second-year UF honor student and member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, 7 p.m. Jan. 23 at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, 718 SE 11th St. Free and open to the public. (335-0572)

Ebony Fashion Show:, 8 p.m. Jan. 23 at Lincoln Middle School, 1001 SE 12th St. Tickets: $25. (372-1004)

Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies: "Pampering the Brothers Health Forum, Part II," a discussion on health care for African-American males with facilitator Cynthia Moore Chestnut: 7 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Alachua County Health Department Auditorium, 228 SE 24th St. Free and Open to the public. (335-0572)

Centennial Celebration, hosted by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority: 11:30 a.m. Jan. 26 at the Paramount Plaza Hotel and Suites, 2900 SW 13th St. Tickets: $25. (372-0246)

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