Lewisburg to host annual MLK Day Celebration

Dr. L. Marshall Washington will be the keynote speaker on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Lewisburg

Beginning at 11 a.m. on Jan. 16, a Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorative march, community lunch, and celebration program will take place in Lewisburg.

The march will be from the Greenbrier County Courthouse to the Lewisburg United Methodist Church via Washington Street. Right after the march, a free community lunch catered by The Bakery will be served. At 12:30 p.m., there will be an hour-and-a-half-long program in the church sanctuary to celebrate King’s accomplishments and vision. The march and celebration will help keep the civil rights movement alive in the United States of America and elsewhere.

Before the march begins at the courthouse, inspiring words and an invocation will be spoken by Larryetta Ellis, pastor of Edgewood Presbyterian Church.  Lewisburg Mayor John Manchester will read his proclamation of Martin Luther King week, and veteran civil rights worker Steve Rutledge will speak to the marchers.

The general theme for this year’s celebration comes from two Martin Luther King quotations: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and, “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all … ”

Essays were written by students at Greenbrier Episcopal School, Frankford Elementary School, Rainelle Elementary School, and Lewisburg Elementary School. Some of the essays will be read by the students as a part of the program. Art work created by Greenbrier Episcopal School, Rainelle Elementary School, and Crichton Elementary School students will be on display.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. L. Marshall Washington, president of New River Community and Technical College since 2013.  Before accepting that position, he was a vice president at community colleges in Pennsylvania and Michigan. He is a member of the board of the American Association of Community Colleges. Under his leadership, New River Community and Technical College has been particularly instrumental in the holding of the Summit on Race Matters at the Lewisburg campus in November of 2015 and 2016.

The program will open with a presentation entitled “Remembering the Dream.” This will include recitations from King’s famous oratory given by a group of youth from the community.

There will be a presentation by High Rocks Academy, a frequent participant in the celebration program.  Another performer from last year’s celebration will be Henry Hill Jr. who will present his dance titled “humanBeinghuman,” which was also featured in the most recent Trillium Performing Arts concert.

A major new feature of the celebration will be singing by the Resurrecting Praise Community Choir under the direction of Roger Patterson and Erika Hunter. This well-rehearsed chorus with members from Greenbrier and surrounding counties has performed excellently several times in West Virginia.

Questions about the event may be directed to Larry Davis at 304-645-6919.  Donations in support of the Martin Luther King Day Celebration may be made at the event or mailed to the MLK Committee c/o Child Youth Advocacy Center at 212 W. Washington St., Lewisburg, WV 24901.

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