A weeklong series of community events, workshops and spiritual congregation kicks off Monday in the lead up to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and annual peace march Jan. 16.
“Our theme this year focuses on Dr. King’s vision of the ‘Poor People’s Campaign,’” said Rose Johnson, executive director of the Newtown Florist Club, Gainesville’s oldest civil rights organization.
King’s message of economic equality is sometimes forgotten in the quest for racial equality. He was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike that fateful day in 1968 when he was assassinated.
The annual march on the King Day holiday begins at 1 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Butler Center in Gainesville, 1300 Athens St. It follows a route to the Fair Street Elementary School, where Adrian Cromwell, assistant principal of Gainesville High School, will deliver the keynote address and while accompanied by the Antioch Baptist Church Youth Choir.
Here is the schedule of events; all are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted:
Monday, Jan. 9
Kick Off Program, “Everybody Bring a Song: Those Old Negro Spirituals-Freedom Songs That Stirred the Soul: Songs That Made the Movement,” 6:30 p.m., Bethel AME Church, Pastor Evelyn Johnson, 900 Mill Street. One-hour time of inspiration through song and WORD.
Tuesday, Jan. 10
Teach In/Discussion “Dr. King’s Poor Peoples Campaign: Jobs, Health Care and Decent Homes; Where Do We Go from Here?” 6:30 p.m., Bethel Church of the Nazarene, Pastor Sean Gray, 1900 Garden Drive. Sponsored by Concerned Citizens Gainesville-Hall County.
Wednesday, Jan. 11
Noon Day Prayer/Midweek Evening Reflection, noon, Glory Tabernacle Ministries, Pastor Barbara Borders, 1834 Floyd Road. Prayer for city, state, nation and individual requests.
Midweek Evening Reflection: Each Church is asked to focus Bible Study on the question: What did Jesus say about the poor? What is our responsibility to be charitable and to help empower those in need to move toward self-sufficiency?
Thursday, Jan. 12
Newtown Florist Club will host “Poverty in Our Time: What Are We Doing and Why?” 6:30 p.m., Restoration Community Church, Pastor Efrahim Frank Medina, 942 Myrtle St., Gainesville. The United Way of Hall County, ONE HALL United Against Poverty has also been invited to participate in this conversation.
Friday, Jan. 13
Teach In-Lunch & Learn, noon, Newtown Florist Club, 1064 Desota St., Gainesville. “The Mexican Bracero Worker Program: An Uneasy Burden to Bear: Immigration Issues Then and Now,” sponsored by the NFC; the Rev. Rose Johnson, lecturer
Gainesville’s Civil Rights Story Photo Gallery, 5 p.m., The Warehouse, 819 West Ridge Road. Sponsored by the Newtown Florist Club and The Faye Center for Learning.
Saturday, Jan. 14
Black Business Brunch, 10 a.m.-noon, 996 Athens Highway, Gainesville. Sponsored by Black Business United, Coordinators: Annette Woods and Angela Middleton.
March Organizing Training, 2 p.m., The Warehouse, 819 West Ridge Road. Open to anyone interested in learning march organizing, Teresa Young, March Coordinator.
Young People’s Event, “To Hip Hop from the Hymns: The Breakdown of the Dream-Panel Discussion and Hip Hop Event,” 4 p.m., The Warehouse, 819 West Ridge Road. Sponsored by RCC and God Squad.
Sunday, Jan. 15
Fashion Show, 5 p.m., East Hall Community Center, 3911 Davison Road. $5. Shanay Williams uses skills as a fashion designer to communicate messages of peace, hope and love through her designs.
Monday, Jan. 16
State of the Movement Breakfast, 9 a.m., Bethel AME Church. Sponsored by the emerging Southern Christian Leadership Conference chapter, Jeffrey Williams coordinator. For more information, call 770-718-1343 or email email@example.com.