On Monday, Jan. 19, the nation will come together to celebrate the message and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A man who stood for non-violence, peace and equality, it is only fitting that events designed to make a better society are held in his honor as we observe what would have been his 86th birthday.
In many places, the holiday has become a “Day of Service” initiative encouraging people to come together to serve their communities, help their neighbors and promote feelings of good will. In 2014, across the nation, more than 360,000 people received emergency food; more than 100,000 received training in disaster preparedness, response and recovery; more than 58,000 children and teens tutored, mentored or educated others; more than 38,000 veterans, military families and active duty military service members received assistance; and more than 15,000 economically disadvantaged people received job placement, financial literacy and job skill development training.
King’s message still resonates in today’s world. A message of peace in the face of extreme inequality, King’s message has been carried across the globe and lives on in his memory. In a world that often feels like it is spinning out of control, it is a message that must be heard. The civil rights movement propelled the idea of peaceful resistance into the mainstream — of disagreement without violence. Unfortunately, this message seems too often forgotten as we see more and more people resort to violence here at home and in all corners of the globe. Peaceful resistance is not the easiest path to travel, but it is the one that leads to the best place in the long run.
There are a number of great events to take part in as we observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday:
• Caribbean-Americans for Community Involvement (CAFCI) and the Village of Royal Palm Beach will present the 13th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center. The celebration begins with a continental breakfast from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., followed by the program, which starts promptly at 10 a.m. Featuring the theme “Love… The Most Durable Power In The World,” the presentation will spotlight a number of talented performers and include a keynote address by Eric Gordon of the Royal Palm Beach Rotary Club.
• Wellington is honoring King’s legacy with a service project to benefit youth in the community. The Community Services Department is seeking the assistance of 25 youth volunteers to help beautify Tiger Shark Cove Park. Starting at 10 a.m. on Jan. 19 and running until noon, volunteers will have an opportunity to make the community a nicer place while also earning community service hours. To sign up, contact Meridith Tuckwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or (561) 753-2476.
• The City of Lake Worth has a number of programs set up to honor the holiday, including the 21st annual Candlelight March through downtown Lake Worth. Participants will gather at 5 p.m. at City Hall and parade down Lake Avenue to the MLK “Ball” Memorial. A brief commemorative program will recognize the progress made in the fulfillment of King’s dream.
• The 34th annual Scholarship and Awards Breakfast presented by the Martin Luther King Jr. Coordinating Committee of West Palm Beach will take place at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on Monday, Jan. 19 at 7:30 a.m. For additional information, call (561)-832-4682 or visit www.mlkcc-1444.org.
• Palm Beach State College’s 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Breakfast will feature keynote speaker Dr. Lillie W. McCain. It will include a complimentary breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the MLK Plaza on the Lake Worth campus. The program begins at 8 a.m. in the Duncan Theatre. For more information about the event, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/mlk.