Area celebrates civil rights leaders this week

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Every year, Cape Girardeau hosts many events to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. The national holiday is celebrated Monday, but there are events scheduled throughout the week.

As reported by Matt Dollard, The annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau to close out the week’s activities. Freeman A. Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will be keynote speaker.

The 28th annual community celebration will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday at True Faith Missionary Ministries. Organizer Debra Mitchell-Braxton said this event rotates churches each year and will last 75 to 90 minutes. The Apostle Larry T. Barnett Sr. will be the event’s featured speaker.

The national service day Monday will kick off with the area’s longest standing commemorative event, the 33rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast at the Salvation Army. At 11:30 a.m. Monday at the same location, the public is welcome to participate in a prayer service for the nation.

Following the prayer service, the 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Luncheon Benefit will begin at noon, also at the Salvation Army. The luncheon will include an award ceremony for outstanding devotion to service. The Dr. C John Ritter Humanitarian Service Award will be presented to recipients who leave their comfort zones to help others, organizer Debra Mitchell-Braxton said. Minister Elida Phifer-Hunter will speak at the luncheon. Phifer-Hunter has worked for much of her life as a counselor, educator and humanitarian.

The 22nd annual Youth Gala will begin at 4 p.m. Monday at the West Park Mall center court near J.C. Penney. The gala involves students performing musical tributes and is generally well received, Mitchell-Braxton said.

As we celebrate the life and works of King, we honor his commitment to social justice and recognize that we still have a lot of work to do. If you can’t make it to an event, we encourage you to research King’s speeches and writings and think about ways you can make a difference.

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