The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in Gainesville mixes public celebration, community activism and spiritual healing in a way that resonates with the hundreds of attendees who annually march and speak and preach on the third Monday of January.
The Newtown Florist Club, a decades-old civil rights group in the city’s historic African-American neighborhood, is hosting this year’s holiday events.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day events
What: Keynote speaker the Rev. Stephen Samuel
When: 10 a.m.
Where: St. John Baptist Church, 757 E.E. Butler Parkway, Gainesville
When: 1 p.m., with marchers assembling at noon
Where: Starts at the Butler Center, 1300 Athens St., Gainesville, and ends at Fair Street School, 695 Fair St., Gainesville
The focus for 2018 picks up on the broad anti-poverty message of last year’s events, which sought to resurrect King’s “Poor People’s Campaign” with teach-ins, trainings and workshops.
“Our theme for this year’s program is standing up for the cause of decent, affordable, fair housing and affordable health care for all,” a press release from the organization states. “Throughout Hall County, many people don’t have a place where they can afford to live. Some families are living in motels, shelters, cars, hidden in the woods and in places where kids suffer greatly. We also know that there are many who don’t have health insurance or may soon lose the coverage that they currently have. We call upon people of goodwill across the county to stand up! Do Something! Say Something!”
The events are sponsored by Sisters With A Purpose, the Grady Young Foundation and the Rho Eta Brenau Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha.