MLK’s legacy shines through on special holiday

Illustration by Megan Fisher

After the death of Breonna Taylor, the Bowling Green community and WKU hosted peaceful protests against police brutality. Race, peaceful demonstration and community support will be prevalent topics in many local events on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Ryan Dearbone, president of the Bowling Green-Warren County Branch of the NAACP, described Martin Luther King as a visionary.

“He was a visionary on two levels,” Dearborn said. “He saw things the way they could be if we all came together and he also saw the way things would be if we all split apart. Because of him using his voice it led to a lot of positive change in our world.”

King was known for his role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, March on Washington and his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. His work during the Civil Rights era has created a blueprint for other movements such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Black Lives Matter Movement has taken after the Civil Rights Movement with similar approaches with protests, boycotts, marches and other tactics to fight for racial equality for Black people.

After his assassination in 1968, King was commemorated with his own day on the third Monday of January each year. This day is used to celebrate the life and achievements of King which include marches, celebrations, church services, and other events.

This holiday is also considered a day of service, according to AmeriCorps. People are encouraged to do something to give back to their communities.

The Bowling Green-Warren County Branch of the NAACP decided to do an act of service with a service project for military veterans called ‘Warming Our Veterans.’ Dearborn credits the project to the Veteran Affairs Committee within the NAACP.

The branch decided that this would be a great way to not only honor King but to serve our military veterans. MLK Day is known as a day of service so having this service project is a great way to live out the dream of King and the true meaning of the holiday.

This event will go on from Jan. 15-31. The items requested are gently used and cleaned coats, jackets, sweaters, gloves, scarves, new socks and hats. The drop-off locations are located at State Street Baptist Church on Tuesday, Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The items will be donated to the Kentucky Veterans Alliance Center.

The Branch will also partner with Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Gifts of Praise Creative Ministries for a virtual service that will be live-streamed on their Facebook page on Jan. 18 at 1 p.m.

Lastly, there will be a video from the youth chapter reciting the historic ‘I Have A Dream’ speech and sharing their own dreams. The video will be posted on the same day of the holiday on their Facebook page.

For a Real Change Inc. is also hosting a virtual event for young girls in grades 3-12 called ‘I Have A Dream’ on Jan. 18 at 2:30 p.m.

Aurelia Spaulding, Communications and Marketing coordinator as well as the Founder of For a Real Change says that the event will help the young girls map out their dreams through a creative activity such as creating their own vision board.

“‘I Have A Dream’ event is an event that brings girls together [virtually] to imagine the possibilities for their future and consider their goals,” Spaulding said in an email.

The event will have author Rainbow Huff as the speaker. Priority registration for the event is Jan. 8 to ensure that participants get a DreamBox and other materials. Participants can register up until Jan. 15, but after Jan. 8 you are expected to bring your own supplies. More information about the event can be found on their website.

The Warren County Public Schools hosted a virtual MLK celebration program on Jan. 16 that included New York Times journalist and WKU alumni Nikita Stewart as the speaker.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Annual Planning Committee will host a “Celebration Of Our Heroes” which will air on WBKO from Jan. 16 until Jan. 18. The 2021 Heroes include 5 individuals. Mae Helen Edmonds and Anna Lewis will be acknowledged for their innovation in Nursing.

It will air on MLK holiday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Reverend Carl E. Whitfield will also be celebrated for the integration of the WKU Marching Band. It aired on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. and Monday at noon.

Charles Whitlock will be celebrated for the integration of Warren County High School, now known as Warren Central High School. This will air on Jan. 16 at 10 p.m. and on the holiday on AM KY.

Nathaniel Northington will be celebrated as the first Black person to receive a scholarship in the SEC and the first Black Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green. It will air on MLK holiday at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. More information can be found on their Facebook page, “Mlk Bg.”

With America facing high tensions with the pandemic and the presidential inauguration, a time for peace is needed.

In the words of King himself, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”

Gabrielle Bunton can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @gabriellebunton.