Among the many things he stood for, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., championed the ideas of economic empowerment and equal representation.

City of South Fulton officials will celebrate those principles and honor King’s memory with the city’s first MLK Day parade on Jan. 20, followed by a rally to encourage participation in the 2020 Census. The parade will travel along part of Old National Highway, ending at the rally site.

“Dr. King’s vision reached across many lines, including ensuring access to economic prosperity and fair representation in government for all people,” said Mayor William “Bill” Edwards. “As we honor him, it’s only fitting that we encourage people to become engaged in the census process and be counted.”

Edwards will serve as the parade’s grand marshal, along with personality Sanford MC Lightfoot. Lightfoot also is scheduled to appear at the rally.

Federal officials use census data to determine how funding is dispersed to local healthcare facilities, schools, non-profits and other agencies. Businesses and developers also rely on those numbers when considering where to place or expand facilities and create residential neighborhoods.

“Our city stands to gain much through these funding opportunities,” Edwards said. “To maximize our share, we must have accurate population data. You can help. Make sure you are counted.”

Local businesses, churches, and others are invited to participate in the parade, which will start a 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Walmart on Old National Highway and end at the parking lot of Grown Folks Café. The rally is set to start at 2:30 p.m.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and civil rights leader who practiced peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience in protest to racial inequality. (Photo: Associated Press)

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