• 79°

Public invited to participate in MLK Celebration Day

A countywide celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be held Monday Jan. 20 beginning at 9:30 a.m. The event is organized by the Martin Luther King Day Committee and will include a parade followed by a celebration at J.P. Johnson Park.

The parade lineup starts at 9 a.m. and the parade begins at 9:30 at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church located at 501 Weems St. The marchers will then take a left on Rosa Street before heading to Beech Street. A commemoration will be held at Rose of Sharon Church of God in Christ at 500 North Beech St. A program to honor Dr. Martin Luther King will follow the commemoration.

The family day at J.P. Johnson Park will begin immediately after the church program is dismissed, said MLK Day Program Director Vinnie Scott.

“We can have fellowship with the community as a celebration of the dream of Dr. King and keep that dream alive,” Scott said.

The family day will include live music, food provided by the All Occasion Truck Club and YUNEity, a video game truck and live entertainment. The event is free to the public and attendees are urged to bring their own chairs, Scott said.

This year’s event will feature music group Tribute to Motown and a tribute to Harriet Tubman from storyteller Gwen “Ms. Chocolate” Williams.

The event’s theme is ‘Where have we been and where do we go from here?’

“We are looking to move past a lot of things that we are seeing in the media and seeing happening here in Mississippi and in Picayune,” Scott said.

Committee founder and chairperson Etta Scott said the theme encourages people to consider events in the world today and decide whether the world is progressing or regressing.

“We should be moving forward, but it appears we are in a standstill, so that’s the main reason for choosing the theme,” Etta Scott said.

The annual event can inspire people to join together as a community and make a difference, Etta Scott said.

“This can be an empowering event for all of our community—our youth, our adults—everyone, and that too is why we need to pay tribute to Martin Luther King. He fought for this, so we need to keep it moving. Like I just said, is it progression or regression? We need to stand together as a community, as a whole, to make things better for our youth, because these are our leaders for tomorrow,” Etta Scott said.

It is not too late to enter a group, car or float in the parade, said Etta Scott. Anyone interested in doing so can contact her at 504-513-9329. Anyone interested in walking in the parade can just show up the day of the event and join in.

Organizers want the entire county and people from surrounding counties to participate.