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Events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day scheduled throughout region

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Bristol MLK 03

Kimberly Pete leads a song as the marchers pause along MLK Boulevard Jan. 21 of 2020 during the Bristol celebration of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being celebrated during several different events across the region as local institutions organize events for the official holiday Monday, Jan. 17.

» Abingdon’s Appalachian Peace Education Center (APEC) is hosting a combination of in-person and online events with the theme “So Even Though We Face the Difficulties of Today and Tomorrow, I Still Have a Dream.”

The events will culminate Saturday, Jan. 15, at 2 p.m. when community members are invited to gather at the Abingdon Farmers Market to begin a march in honor of the late civil rights leader at 2:30 p.m. to St. Thomas Episcopal Church.

Jerry Jones, a professor at Emory & Henry College who grew up in Southwest Virginia during the era of segregation, will discuss the region’s history during that era and the concurrent Jim Crow mindset on Thursday, Jan. 13, at 6 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. A livestream will also be on the church’s Facebook page.

» A virtual MLK Celebration, featuring Dr. King’s speeches, poems and artistic performances related to the theme, can be viewed on APEC’s Facebook page beginning Saturday, Jan. 15, and beyond.

» Sharing the same theme as Abingdon, Bristol’s MLK Committee is hosting a 2 p.m. virtual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program on the holiday.

» Emory & Henry College invites the community to participate in its Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation Monday, Jan. 17, in The McGlothlin Center for the Arts (MCA). Keynote speaker Lydia X. Z. Brown, a disability justice advocate, will speak at 10 a.m. on the holiday. Jibreel Khazan (Ezell Blair Jr.), the last surviving member of the Greensboro Four, will present the evening keynote address at 7:30 p.m. virtually.

The college’s office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is also holding a Week of Awareness with events every day of the week following the holiday.

» Emory & Henry will welcome famed photojournalist Brian Shih, who brings his exhibit of portraits of rank and file Black Panther Political Party members. The official opening reception of the exhibit, “Black Panthers: Portraits of Unfinished Movement,” is 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13. The exhibit will be placed in the DEI House, located at 12150 Linden St., Emory, 24327. Shih will present his work virtually Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 7: 30 p.m.

» Emory & Henry’s week of celebration concludes with a keynote address Thursday, Jan. 20, at 11:30 a.m. by Jenna Lyn, M.D., MHA Ballad Health. Lyn will present for the School of Health Sciences at the Lincoln Theater in Marion, Virginia. E&H will host a 3 p.m. Gospel Sensation singing performance in the MCA on Sunday, Jan. 23. Admission is free. Tickets can be reserved by calling the MCA box office.

» King University will host a 6:30 p.m. in-person candlelight gathering outside of Lee Street Baptist Church in Bristol, Virginia in honor of the holiday Monday, Jan. 17. The event will include prayers, readings and music. At 7 p.m., following the lighting, the university’s Institute for Faith & Culture (IFC) will welcome international speaker and author Natasha Sistrunk Robinson to Lee Street Baptist Church as she gives her in-person presentation of the IFC’s 2022 lecture entitled “A Sojourner’s Truth: Choosing Freedom and Courage in a Divided World.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 18, Robinson will also present “Beauty from the Ashes: A Purpose and a Call” at 10 a.m. in King’s Memorial Chapel. All of the university’s events are free and open to the public, and masks will be required.

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