By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
This story was updated on Jan. 16, 2020 to add details and additional events.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma City’s 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration events, themed, “40 Years – Better Together” will take place on Monday, January 20, the national holiday bearing King’s name. The public is invited to attend.
Organized by the Oklahoma City Martin Luther King Holiday Coalition, several events will be held creating one of the largest and most diverse celebrations in the country.
Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for combating racial inequality through nonviolence. He was a pastor, activist, humanitarian and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. The use of peaceful civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs advanced civil rights and earned him worldwide recognition.
The coalition works to honor the legacy of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through events that continue his values and aspirations for equality and justice for all people.
“A strong show of unity is needed to demonstrate the significance of this Holiday for the entire Oklahoma City community,” said R. L. Doyle, MLK Holiday Coalition chair.
On Friday, Jan. 17, the 26th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Banquet will be held at the Embassy Suites (Downtown Medical Center), 741 N Phillips Avenue at 7 p.m. The Marcella Guthrie Scholarship fund hosts an annual scholarship banquet to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King and the importance of education. Congresswoman Horn will address the banquet as a speaker. Tickets required.
On Sat., Jan. 18, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Beta Eta Lambda Chapter commemorates MLK Weekend with the 26th Annual MLK Gospel Extravaganza on Saturday, January 18th at 6 p.m. at Tabernacle Baptist Church, 1829 NE 36th Street. Free admission. For more details, contact Colyn Moss at 405-831-1456.
Also, on Sat., the BLAC, Inc. (Black Liberated Arts Center) presents The Spoken Word – Community or Chaos: Are we There Yet? at The Auditorium, Douglass Next Door 600 N. High Street. Doors Open at 7 p.m. Admission $10. Hosted by Jabee Williams and Brittani Grant, the event is targeted for Millenniums, who will be given an opportunity to voice their thoughts about the work of Dr. M. L. King, Jr. and how his legacy has impacted them.
The Civil Rights and Justice Town Hall, hosted by Congresswoman Kendra Horn, will be held on Satuday, Jan 18, from 1-3 p.m. at Fairview Baptist Church, 1700 NE 7th Street. Speakers will include representatives of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Douglass High School Academy of Law and Safety students, justice advocate Cece Jones-Davis, and Emmy award-winning music artist Jabee.
The 2020 MLK celebration will kick off on Sunday, January 19 at 3 p.m., with the Annual MLK Program at St John Missionary Baptist Church, 5700 N. Kelly, led by Rev. Dr. M.L. Jemison and featuring Congresswoman Kendra Horn.
On Sunday evening at 5:30 p.m., a Cross Cultural Program will be held at Temple B’nai Israel, 4901 N. Pennsylvania Avenue. During this free event, a meal is served and a program will follow with guest speaker Congresswoman Kendra Horn, music and other entertainment.
On Monday, Jan. 20, from 7 – 9 a.m., the 23rd Annual Midwest City Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast, themed “Unity” will be held at the Sheraton Midwest City Hotel in the Reed Conference Center, 5800 Will Rogers Road. Congresswoman Kendra Horn will speak. Individual tickets for $15 are available online, at the Midwest City Community Center, 200 N Midwest Boulevard, and at the door, unless sold out. Table sponsorships are also available.
The annual Opening Ceremony and Silent March representing the spirit of the modern Civil Rights Movement, will begin at 9 a.m. at the Freedom Center, 2609 North Martin Luther King Blvd., and travel west on 23rd to the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, just east of the state Capitol building.
The Annual Dr. King Holiday Program will take place from 12:15 – 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, 127 N.W.7, in downtown Oklahoma City. The free event will feature an invocation, speeches from Congresswoman Kendra Horn and other community leaders, music and a benediction. Event speakers to be announced. The parade immediately follows.
The Coalition’s signature event, the annual MLK Holiday Parade, will step off at 2 p.m. from the intersection of N.W. 6th Street and Walker and head south towards Reno Ave. See parade map for staging area, route and road closures. Register by January 3, 2020 by 5 p.m. for the $45 entry fee. Late registration: January 4-10, charge is $55.00. A crowd of approximately 30,000 people is expected to attend.
All entrants must register and be approved to participate in the parade and display the 2019 theme: “40 Years – Better Together.” For more parade details, visit the Coalition website.
The 2020 OKC MLK Coalition free Job Fair on Monday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Douglass High School, 900 N. MLK Jr. Boulevard,
For more information, visit okcmlk.org.