The Coalition of Churches’ celebration honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. begins Friday with a banquet held at the Lincoln Country Club. The celebration lasts through the weekend, culminating in a march to the Court Square in downtown Lincolnton on Monday, followed by a ceremony.

Ola Mae Foster, president of the Coalition of Churches, said Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not just a day off from work or school. The holiday is a National Day of Service.

“Dr. Martin Luther King was a very active person, fighting for rights and against injustice,” Foster said. “We keep the fight going by continuing to offer service.”

Friday evening’s program includes NC House Representative Chaz Beasley, who was recently elected to represent District 92 that covers parts of southwest Mecklenburg County. He was valedictorian at Newton-Conover High School, then went on to graduate Harvard University and Georgetown School of Law.

Beasley believes that Dr. King’s dream stays alive by continuing the fight for justice.

“Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his life in the cause of freedom,” Beasley said. “Similarly, we must dedicate ourselves to building a society that reflects our deeply-held values and embraces everyone, regardless of background.”

The celebration continues Sunday with a worship service featuring Rev. Dr. Michael Isaac as speaker. On Monday, Hinton Memorial United Methodist Church will host a community breakfast featuring Mecklenburg County Commissioner, at-large, Trevor M. Fuller.

Winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest will read their essays later that morning at the Cultural Center. The essay contest was a collaboration between the Coalition of Churches, Atrium Health and the county. According to Foster, students throughout the county could write an essay on anyone anyone who embodied the spirit of King.

Foster stressed that everyone is welcome to join in celebrating King’s legacy. She believed his work opened doors for a lot of people in a lot of areas, not just black people.

“This is not a closed event just for the black community,” Foster said. “This is a celebration for everyone.”

The banquet is Friday at 6 p.m. at the Lincoln Country Club. Cost is $30.

The Worship Service will be held Sunday at 4 p.m at the Lincoln Cultural Center, located at 403 E. Main Street.

The community breakfast is Monday at 8:30 a.m. at Hinton Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 830 Car Farm Road in Lincolnton. No charge.

The Youth Program Essay Contest is Monday at 11 a.m. at the Lincoln Cultural Center.

March line-up starts at 1:30 p.m at Fifth Third Bank, 402 E. Main Street, and will begin at 2 p.m., ending at the Court Square.


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