By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter –
This story first appeared online on Dec. 23, 2020.
OKLAHOMA CITY – On Monday, January 18, the 2021 OKC Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Coalition will host its annual celebration. All events will take place virtually online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our 2021 theme, ‘Remember, Celebrate, and ACT’ takes on even greater significance this year,’ said R.L. Doyle, OKC MLK Jr. Holiday Coalition Chair. “A strong show of unity is needed to demonstrate the significance of this Holiday for the entire Oklahoma City Community.
“We have always and will continue to display the virtues that will honor Dr. King’s life and work,” he added.
“The coronavirus and the CDC guidelines have required us all to make changes and adjustments in how we gather and celebrate,” Doyle continued. “Because of the new normal, the 2021 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, holiday activities hosted by the OKC MLK Coalition will be held virtually.”
The day will begin with an Opening Ceremony and Silent March at 9 a.m., Bell Ringing ceremony at 11 a.m., Holiday Program at 12:15 p.m. and the OKC MLK Jr. Holiday Parade at 2 p.m., all via Zoom.
This year’s parade hosts will be international speaker, award winning author and mentor, Wyjuana Montgomery and Deondre D. Chappell, on air personality, mobile DJ and comedian.
“Oklahoma City’s MLK Day Parades have been some of the largest in the country, a great tribute to the young ‘sit-inners’ led by Ms. Clara Luper, who ended segregated lunch counters at Katz Drug Store in the 1950s,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Peace House. “Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, available on the internet, is 17-minutes well worth listening to again today. Everybody can help end racism.”
The OKC MLK Jr. Holiday Coalition has been organizing the parade, the 3rd largest in the United States, and its related events for 40 years.
“We are extremely proud of our record and look forward to many more years of service to our community,” Doyle said. “We welcome all citizens and organizations to join us in honoring Dr. King and in keeping his dream alive in Oklahoma City.”
When available, the program for the event will be made available on the website. For more information, contact Parade Coordinator William Jones at 405-306-8440 or Garland Pruitt at 405-473-6152.
Guidelines that must be followed for the virtual celebration are listed on the organization’s website. They include “various ways organizations can join with the MLK Coalition and other partners to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King Jr.,” according to Doyle.
The 2021 OKC Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Coalition tee shirts are now available online, featuring the 2021 theme Remember, Celebrate, and ACT. T-shirts are $15 each for sizes small to extra large and $16 for XXL and larger. Click here to order.
Zoom event information will be emailed to those registered and also posted on OKC MLK Holiday Coalition social media platforms. According to the website, participants must register and pay fees.
“Join us for a virtual Job Fair, Silent March, Bell Ringing, Program, and Parade with your contribution,” Doyle said. “Directions and information on how this will take place will be in the package and on our website.”
To learn more, visit okcmlkcoalition.org.