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Salute to a King

Thousands set to honor MLK legacy

By Kalin Thomas Contributing Writer | 1/18/2013, 1:25 p.m.
King Center CEO Elder Bernice KIng called for a period of healing and harmony in America and called all people who believe in her father’s dream to recommit to nonviolence. The federal holiday honoring King, officially observed on Monday, is part of a 10-day ceremony honoring America’s most famous peace prophet. (Photo by Kalin Thomas).

ATLANTA – Thousands of metro Atlantans will join prayer services, commemorative events and community service projects this week to mark the 84th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which is officially celebrated on Monday.

Speaking at launch ceremonies last week, King Center CEO Elder Bernice King called for a period of healing and harmony in light of the difficult year America’s had with unemployment, natural disasters, military conflicts and tragic mass shootings.

“Now is the time for nonviolence! We’re calling on everyone who believes in my father’s dream to help make 2013 a year of healing and reconciliation,” said King, who also is working on a gun buy-back program with the Radio One network.

The recent launch of the 10-day King Day events included a kick-off reception and the unveiling of the riveting exhibit, “100 Days of Nonviolence: The Birmingham Campaign,” a look at the civil rights struggles and victories in Birmingham in 1963.

“My goal is to raise $700,000,” King said. “And this year I’m excited about presenting the inaugural Coretta Scott King Angel Award.”

“And at the commemoration service it will be the first time we’ll have someone from the Latino community to deliver the main address,” said King of the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Since the King holiday falls on the same day as President Barack Obama’s inauguration this year, The King Center will host an inaugural party at Ebenezer after the commemoration service.

And what would King say to President Obama if he were alive today?

“He probably would encourage him to always do what’s right and just, and to follow his conscience,” said King.

During the National Day of Service, The King Center is conducting an interactive social media campaign asking people to tweet what volunteer work they’re doing, using #KingsDream and #IamFreedom.

All of The King Center events are free to the public except for the Salute to Greatness Dinner, its annual fundraiser.

If you’re looking for a way to honor King, check out this selected list of events in and around metro Atlanta.

Friday, Jan. 18/10 a.m.

Naturalization Ceremony – U.S. Immigration Services

The King Center, Freedom Hall Auditorium

404-526-8900 or www.TheKingCenter.org.

Friday, Jan. 18/8-10:30 a.m.

10th Annual King Holiday Human Rights Prayer Breakfast

Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel

404-525-3559 or www.marchaaar.org.

Saturday, Jan. 19/9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

MLK Youth Conference

IBEW Auditorium

0emtay08@gmail.com

Saturday, Jan. 19/11 a.m.

“Children of the Movement: 50 Years after the “I Have a Dream”

speech and the March on Washington

Ebenezer Baptist Church, Heritage Sanctuary

404-331-5190, www.nps.gov/malu

Saturday, Jan. 19/3-8 p.m.

“Day Dream:” The MLK Weekend Day Party (hosted by Atlanta Greeks)

Indigo Bar

678-404-2554, www.DayDreamATL.com

Saturday, Jan.19/2:30 p.m.

The DREAM 50 Art Contest Awards Ceremony

Morehouse College, Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel

404-526-8900, www.thekingcenter.org

Saturday, Jan. 19/5:30 p.m.

Annual “Salute to Greatness” Awards Dinner

Hyatt Regency Hotel

404-526-8911, www.thekingcenter.org

Sunday, Jan. 20/10 a.m.

MLK Worship Service

Spelman College, Sisters Chapel

404-270-5476, www.spelman.edu

Sunday, Jan. 20/3-5 p.m.

The King Center Book Signing (King family authors)