The Southeast’s largest celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. begins Saturday, with three days of free, family-friendly events designed to promote inclusiveness in our community.
Among the most popular parts of the Carolinas HealthCare System MLK National Holiday Celebration is a parade along Tryon Street that will start at 10 a.m. Saturday. It begins at 9th Street, ends two hours later at Stonewall Street, and will include more than 100 community organizations, marching bands and step and drill teams.
Highlights will include floats with the student winners of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ MLK Art and Writing Contests and local performance groups. Thousands of people attended last year’s parade.
“Our community continues to heal after last September’s protests and demonstrations,” said a statement from LaWana Mayfield, a Charlotte City Council member and co-chair of the event’s organizing committee.
“The MLK weekend is an opportunity to recognize the grassroots leaders who are addressing the frustration expressed by the demonstrators, while we also celebrate the growing diversity of our city and county.”
Hands On Charlotte will be honoring King’s legacy with multiple service projects for hundreds of volunteers.
Family-friendly service activities include sorting donated winter coats, assembling pencil pouches, designing bookmarks for classrooms and decorating adoption bandanas for shelter dogs. Donations will also be collected to benefit partner agencies. Items accepted may include coats, school supplies, nonperishable food items, books, housewares, etc.
CMS students will honor King’s legacy of advocacy of nonviolent protests through poetry, dance and works of art. That program, planned for 11 a.m. Monday inside the Halton Theater at Central Piedmont Community College, allows students to connect King’s legacy with current events.
The 2017 Carolinas HealthCare System MLK National Holiday Celebration will include:
- Hands On Charlotte’s MLK Call to Service, a drop-in community service event beginning at noon on Saturday at three locations: East Mecklenburg High School, Piedmont Open IB Middle School and Blythe Elementary School. The event benefits several Charlotte-Mecklenburg nonprofits.
- MLK March of Commitment, beginning at 1:30 p.m. Sunday from First Ward Elementary School. Participants in the march to Marshall Park will be asked to chant or sing the themes and ideas they view as important to Charlotte’s move toward a more just community. The march will be followed by the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Marshall Park.
- At 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture will have film screenings, community discussions on race and identity, dance classes, art workshops and more for its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday celebration. Local artists Nellie Ashford and Charles Farrar will lead guided tours of their work throughout the day. Details, visit ganttcenter.org.
For the full schedule, visit http://charlottenc.gov/crc/mlkevents/Pages/default.aspx