CHAPEL HILL – Local leaders and community activists will use the remembrance of one of the nation’s most well known civil rights activists to continue their fight against what they’re calling an oppressive agenda in Raleigh.
Monday marks the 28th Martin Luther King, Jr day, which observes the birthday of the pastor, activist, and humanitarian. Dr. King would have been 85 years old on January 15.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill creating the federal holiday to honor King. The holiday wasn’t observed for the first time until 1986.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro branch of the NAACP is holding its annual march and rally with the theme ‘A Day of Redemption’ beginning at Peace and JusticePlaza in front of the Old Franklin Street Post Office. Branch secretary, Barbara Foushee says Monday’s event will feature special guests who are active in the social justice movement.
“North Carolina State Senator Valerie Foushee, Former North Carolina State Senator Ellie Kinnaird, and a representative from the UNC-Chapel Hill chapter of the NAACP, Mr. Andrew Rowe, Jr. (will be the rally speakers),” Foushee says.
Foushee says the event continues down Franklin Street on the way to the historic First Baptist Church on the corner of Rosemary and North Roberson Street.
“After the rally, there will be a march,” Foushee says. “The program will convene at 11:00 a.m. at the Historic First Baptist Church of Chapel Hill where the pastor is Reverend Dr. Rodney Coleman. The featured speaker will be Orange County Commissioner and civil rights attorney, Mark Dorosin.”
Every year, activists in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community also join in the annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) rally in Raleigh. One of the MLK rally marshals and local activist, Minister Robert Campbell, says Monday will be an opportunity for people to sign up to ride the bus to Raleigh for the HKonJ held this year on February 8.
“Last year we had one bus,” Minister Campbell says. “This year we want to have three buses leaving Chapel Hill. We encourage the general public to become a part of the movement, become the voice that says, ‘we are looking for social, economic justice for everybody.”
The Forward Together movement recently announced that HKonJ will be combined with a Moral Monday rally this year in the attempts to strengthen the movement that was started last April.
Minister Campbell says this movement continues to be an effort to protect everyone, especially those who can’t protect themselves.
“We have to make the weakest upon us as strong as the strongest upon us, because we are all a link in the chain of society,” Minister Campbell says.
Aside from the events on Franklin Street, your community will see many events in observance of MLK Day.
Book Harvest is a local nonprofit which collects new and gently used books to get them into the hands of children in homes where books aren’t readily available. Monday, Book Harvest is celebrating its 10,000 Books for Kids (10KBK) event at The Carolina Theatre of Durham on Morgan Street. Durham Mayor Bill Bell will kick off the festivities at 1:00 p.m. There will also be food, live music, and other special appearances.
DurhamTechCommunity College along with the help of more than 800 volunteers are gathering at the school’s main campus to package meals for the Stop Hunger Now event. The meals will be distributed through the ORPHANetwork in Nicaragua.
UNC will take the entire week to remember the social justice leader. Events continue Tuesday with an exhibit called “Re/Iterations of Resistance: Moments, Martyrs, Movement.” It will take place at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History at 7:00 p.m.
Events at UNC continue Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.