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Columbus’ annual MLK Day march returns after taking year off for COVID

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Columbus' annual MLK Day march returns after taking year off for COVID

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For Senator Hersel Craig, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day of work.

“It’s a day that really goes by, not a day off, because of what Dr. King stands for and his focus on service,” Craig said.

To that end, Craig celebrates the federal holiday on January 17, in part, with a rally.

After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, the annual MLK Day Columbus Parade is back and is scheduled to kick off at 4:30 p.m., beginning and ending at City Hall, 90 W. Broad St. Downtown.

The march will be followed by the lighting of the town hall and speakers. Free parking is available by going to columbus.gov/MLK2022.

Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929. He was a Baptist chaplain and a leader of the civil rights movement, championing justice and equality from the mid-1950s until his death in 1968. His birth is celebrated every year on the third Monday in January, on Federal holiday.

Craig said he’s attended every MLK Day rally held in Columbus since Michael B. Coleman became mayor. (The first was in 1987, a year after MLK Day was celebrated for the first time.)

This is because for him the annual march is more than just a symbolic act. It is a manifestation of the sacrifices made by those who demonstrated in the 1950s and 1960s for voting rights, civil rights, and equal protection under the law.

Craig, who has also served on the Ohio House of Representatives and Columbus City Council, said their work has allowed future generations to live better lives.

“It would be disingenuous to say we didn’t make gains. We made gains. My mother was a maid, cleaning houses,” Craig said. But she was a lifelong educator, she continued to educate herself and insisted that we would do the same. The reason for my membership in the Senate is (because of) all these men and women who believed in me, challenged me, and provided resources.”

He added that this does not mean that the work has been completed.

“There are those who might want to roll back the gains we’ve made in terms of voting rights. We still have some issues with fairness. We looked at the social determinants of health, and even now black children are dying at three times the rate as other children,” Craig said, referring to the rate Infant mortality in Ohio.

“Any child who dies is too many. We know we have work to do in the areas of housing, education and employment.”

Craig said the dividing line can be drawn from the protests of the civil rights movement to those seen during the summer of 2020, sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

“Dr. King said the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. But it does not bend by itself,” said Craig. “Therefore, we all need to continue to do everything we can to make sure that all of our families and children, regardless of their zip code, have a fair chance and a quality of life.”

Other MLK Day Events

Earlier on January 17, Craig was scheduled to speak at 12:15 p.m., and again at 1:00 p.m., as part of the MLK Day Open House hosted by the Ohio History Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in partnership With the King Art Complex.

Performers include The Open House, 800 E. 17th Ave. , Leap of Faith Dance Studio, Franklinton High School Steel Band, Roger Parish, Larry Robertson, NIA Performing Arts Ensemble, Transit Arts, and Antonio Lamar.

Several MLK Day events are planned. All hypothetical and on January 17 unless otherwise noted.

Capital University’s 31st Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning will honor the civil rights leader with an opening ceremony featuring keynote speaker, author and poet Hanif Abdel Raqeb, and workshops on race relations and other topics related to social justice.

The online event is free, but registration is required. For information or to register, visit capital.edu.

• The annual MLK Columbus Birthday Breakfast will be from 9-11 am with a keynote address by Christina Johnson, President of Ohio State University. This is the second year that breakfast has become a default.

• The Holy Rosary and St. John the Evangelist host their annual Martin Luther King Feast Celebration from noon to 1:30 pm at Holy Rosary-St. John Church, 660 South Ohio Ave.

The guest speaker is Andrea C. Bannell, Vice President of Supervision at the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Columbus. The live broadcast of the event will be available at facebook.com/groups/hrsjfamilyandfriends for those who cannot or do not wish to attend in person. Email hrsjevents@gmail.com for more information.

• Annual MLK Celebration hosted by Westerville Leadership and MLK Jr. Legacy Project will be from 8 am to 9:30 am. The deadline to register for the online program is January 10. The cost is $20.

The program will include a panel discussion moderated by WBNS-TV (Channel 10) presenter Angela An. Speakers include Kristi Angel, President and CEO of the Columbus YWCA, Judge Jeza N. Page, Joint Appeals Judge of Franklin County, and Alex Shanks, Director of Community Prevention Initiatives at Equitas Health.

• The City of Worthington will honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with online programming at 11 am. The city says details of how to adjust will be announced near the event.

Part of the program will be titled “The Future of the Movement – The Legacy of Dr. King”, and will include readings from students at Worthington Schools. The program will also include performances by the Capriccio Choir and the Urban Strings Youth Orchestra.

A preview of Lance Johnson’s “Post No Ills” exhibition, which opens at McConnell Arts Center in late January, will also be shown during the program.

• The City of Hilliard is hosting a new event called Dr.

• The Olentangy Schools annual ONE Community Conference will begin a four-part series of events to celebrate Dr. King’s life with MLK Day of Service. Olentangy students, staff, and families are invited to learn about and serve local organizations in Central Ohio that work to address the inequalities that exist in our communities. Donations are scheduled to be delivered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the administrative offices of Olentangy Schools, 7840 Graphics Way in the Lewis Center. Volunteers will greet community members and collect donations in a contactless vehicle.

For more information, email Mikela Thomas, Assistant Director of Equity and Inclusion at Olentangy Schools, at mikela_thomas@olsd.us.

• The City of Dublin encourages residents to take a stroll through Thaddeus Kosciusko Park from January 10 to January 28. This self-guided tour features bookmarks with excerpts from Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. On January 17, the Dublin link will light up in red, white and blue in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

• Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ohio Wesleyan University’s Delaware Celebration Committee will hold an online panel discussion on “FUNDI: The Story of Ella Baker” at 4 p.m. January 16 (the film itself will not be shown).

The scheduled committee members are Karijoy Coit, Executive Director of the Unity Community Center, Rochelle Pride, Chairman, and Brianna Mack, Associate Professor of Politics and Government at Ohio Wesleyan State; Antron Mahoney, Associate Professor of Africana Studies, Gender and Identity; Anna Dossier, student and member of the Black Student Union.

Registration is required in order to discuss Zoom online and can be done by visiting www.owu.edu/MLK.

• The 29th Annual Ohio Wesleyan MLK Celebration will begin at 11 am on the university’s Facebook page. The event will include TED Talk-style presentations from Nicole Jackson, Associate Professor of History at Bowling Green State University. Tamika Vinson-Reid, Co-Chair of the African American Heritage Council of Delaware, and Charles Montgomery, Campus Patron and Reverend Instructor on Columbus’ Vineyard.

Chris Bornea and Stephen Burgna of ThisWeek Community News contributed to this report.

mtrombly@dispatch.com

Twitter: monroetrombly

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