NC State Employees and Dr. MLK Jr. Commission Celebrate the Life of Dr. King, Promoting Service within the Community Announcing the annual State Observance Program and recipients of the 2019 - 2020 NC MLK Grants

Raleigh, NC

On Friday, January 17, 2020, the State of North Carolina will hold its annual State Employees’ Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance Program in Raleigh, NC. This year’s theme centers on Dr. King’s message – “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?”

The program will take place from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 99 N. Salisbury St., Raleigh. It will include a commemorative bell ringing ceremony as well as remarks from Governor Roy Cooper and keynote address from former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

At the request of Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, since 1986 the nation has commemorated the birthday and philosophy of Dr. King with a bell ringing ceremony. The ringing of the bell signifies personal conviction and community involvement and provides an opportunity for reflection.

Additionally, during the State Employees’ MLK Observance Program, the winner of the John R. Larkins Award will be announced. Each year, North Carolina honors a state employee with the Larkins Award in recognition of his or her commitment to justice and equality.

The theme of this year’s program evokes action, a measure James White, Chair of the NC Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, believes is essential to keeping Dr. King’s legacy alive.

“The life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is often captured in sound bites and celebrations that take place during the designated holiday,” he said. “The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission understands that the challenges of systematic racism, poverty, unemployment and human rights unfortunately still exist throughout the state of North Carolina and will exist beyond the memories of banquets, breakfast and speeches that permeate the holiday.”

All North Carolinians are encouraged to attend ceremonies and participate in public service opportunities in honor of Dr. King. Volunteer activities will take place across the state , and a list of available MLK Day of Service opportunities is available online through VolunteerNC.

North Carolina’s youth will take part in activities across the state to promote and spread the teachings of Dr. King through the MLK Commission’s annual grant program. Today the Commission announced the winners of the 2019-2020 MLK grant, which promotes leadership and nonviolence education for young adults.

Six organizations from across the state were selected to receive a total of $6,000, funding which will be used to help continue spreading the philosophy and vision of Dr. King.

“Dr. King’s life and legacy is captured best when his work and teachings leads to justice that is transformative to our communities for years to come and the Commissions believes that throughout the state of North Carolina there are many, as Dr. King would say, ’Drum Majors for Justice,’” said White. “The MLK Jr. Grants are design to provide leaders the instruments they need to facilitate sounds of Dr. King’s message of justice that will reflect in all people of North Carolina experiencing a dream that should not be deferred.”

The recipients of the 2019-2020 MLK grants are:

  • Edgecombe Entrepreneur Organization: Funding will be used to offer activities and events in Edgecombe County in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. beginning December 2019 through the end of January 2020.  Activities and events include an oratorical and poster contest, community march, commemorative banquet and luncheon that will engage youth and increase their knowledge of Dr. King’s legacy.  Awarded $1,000. For more details contact: Shoneca Kent, sekent@ncat.edu
  • Hickory Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP): Funding from the MLK grant will help educate youth on the philosophy of Dr. King through events designed to expand the observance of Dr. King’s holiday. Activities include a community Bell Ringing, graphics competition, educational games and presentations. Awarded $1,000. For more details contact: Ida Clough, hickorynaacp@gmail.com
  • Maggie’s Outreach Community Economic Development Center: Through the Center’s “Road to Success Inspiration Project” (RTSIP), funding will enable youth enrolled in the Hoke County Alternative School, High School and Early College High School to create a “positive art” mural with their families. Youth will also form a County Art Council, which will help build leadership skills and learn the teachings of Dr. King. Awarded $1,000. For more details contact: Ophelia Ray, mbdevelcenter@mocedc.org
  • Oak Hill Heritage House, Inc Museum & Research Library: MLK grant funds will help further enlighten youth of Oak Hill and surrounding areas on Dr. King’s stance on non-violence and social change and how it relates to issues today. Program will include a series of short skits related to Dr. King’s philosophy followed by a panel discussion. Awarded $1,000. For more information contact: Alma Peace-Bullock, almackbullock@aol.com
  • Richmond County Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee: Funding will be used to encourage partnership among youth and local organizations, focusing on issues related to equal rights, love and acceptance, and bullying. Youth will have the opportunity to incorporate and spread the teachings of Dr. King through the presentation of art and creation of events and programs. Awarded $1,000. For more details contact: Curtis Ingram, cingram@carolina.rr.net
  • West End Community Foundation, Inc: Funding from the MLK grant will be used to educate youth on the teachings of Dr. King, encouraging conversation and offering activities that celebrate his life through the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Lock-In. The two-day event will explore how artistic expression through various mediums can embody Dr. King’s philosophies and encourage civil discourse. Awarded $1,000. For more information contact: Crystal Biles, executivedirector@thewecf.org

Created in 1993, the NC Martin Luther King Jr. Commission endeavors to promote among the people of North Carolina an awareness and appreciation of the life and legacy of Dr. King. The Commission urges each citizen to plan now for the January 20, ‘Day of Service’ in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King and to consider a community bell ringing.  The Commission is part of the NC Department of Administration. For more information, visit the MLK Commission website at ncadmin.nc.gov/MLKCommission or on Facebook @NCMLKJrCommission for details.

 

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