On Friday, January 18, 2019, 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 is “The Time is Always Right to Do the Right Thing.”
The program will include a commemorative bell ringing ceremony and remarks from Governor Roy Cooper and Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles.
The bell ringing ceremony will occur at 11:55am during the lighting of the Unity candle immediately before the annual Observance Program which begins at noon at First Baptist Church, located on 101 S Wilmington Street, Raleigh, NC.
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.
All North Carolinians are encouraged to attend ceremonies and participate in public service opportunities in honor of Dr. King. 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.
On January 16, 2019, the Commission announced the winners of the 2019 MLK grant, which promotes leadership and nonviolence education for young adults. Six local organizations were selected to receive a total of $5,800. The winners of the 2019 MLK grant awards are:
- UNCP Foundation Inc: The program, “Living Brave, Engaging Lives” is designed to increase awareness of the life, work and legacy of Dr. King; specially the importance of speaking up for justice through dialogue and engagement. UNCP will work with local middle school students on oral/ written and artistic projects highlighting some aspect of Dr. King’s life and work. Awarded $1,000.
- NAACP- Davidson Branch: The program will allow youth to conduct a peer-to peer interchange of current community issues, exercising strategies of positive civil discourse. The group will also participate in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. parade to ring the bells of freedom and call for a continuation of Dr. King’s vision for civil discourse. Awarded $500.
- LEAD Girls of NC Inc of Forsyth County: The program will engage girls ages 11 to 15 in character development and strategies to challenge peer pressure and bullying. The after-school and weekend workshops are hosted in a fall and spring series. Awarded $1,000.
- Mediation Center of Eastern Carolina of Pitt County: Participants of the Teen Court Program will engage in activities to increase awareness of Dr. King’s teachings. Teens in Pitt, Duplin, Onslow and Jones counties will conduct research on Dr. King and the meaning of civil discourse, producing and presenting fact sheets and posters in promotion of summer programs. Awarded $1,000.
- Neighborhood Improvement Services, Human Relations Division, City of Durham: As part of Carolina Theatre of Durham’s Arts Discovery Education Series, local historians will facilitate discussion about civil discourse and open dialogue about community change. Young leaders will gain experience and learn tools for strengthening communication skills, gain self-confidence and communicate more effectively with their peers and adults. Awarded $1,000.
- GenerationNation of Mecklenburg County: Teen leaders of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Youth Council will develop teaching materials about Dr. King and civil discourse. Members of the Council will identify area afterschool programs that serve under-resourced middle and elementary school children to conduct both education and discussion sessions. Awarded $800.
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 21, ‘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 or Facebook page for details.
Source: NC Department of Administration
Ed. Note: See our article on Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission happenings in Rocky Mount, North Carolina.