Unity Group's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Starts Wednesday

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Unity Group’s 43rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration is a series of activities commemorating the work of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The celebration ends on Jan. 21, the same day that President Barack Obama will take the oath of office for the second time.

This year's theme is "Focus 2020: A New Generation Defines Its Freedoms." 

Martin Luther King knew that gaining civil rights came with a high price tag but the payoff could guarantee the economic success of his race. 

Many waves of struggling people still come to American shores seeking economic, social and spiritual freedom.  Patrick Henry, Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman fought to define the freedoms of their generations.  They were ridiculed, jailed or murdered for seeking equality.

"I believe that the challenge for today’s youth is to see the relationship between the civil rights movement and the freedoms they enjoy, today," said Erran Persley, who will be a keynote speaker for the Unity's Group's upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.

"Today, African Americans continue to be second class citizens because we have very little collective net worth," said Quenston Coleman, chairman of the Unity Group’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration.  "Every dollar we earn is spent with some other ethnic group.  Freedom is the process of removing barriers that separate us and the act of opening the doors of opportunity to choose our personal pathways."

The events begin Wednesday morning with a Children's Rights conference and a community worship service that same evening.  A prayer breakfast, a Dr. King birthday party and a memorial march and program complete the scheduled activities. 

Mr. Persley volunteers to teach an economics and research class f or inner-city high school student to prepare them for college and work.

"We're trying to balance the playing field. It's not something you always get paid for," he said. "You just have to realize that if we're all connected together, we have to take care of each other." 


Wednesday, 9 a.m.
Children's Rights Conference
Second Missionary Baptist Church, 2305 E. Third St.
Speaker: Helen Adams, coordinator, Tennessee Minority AIDS Initiative 

Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Community Worship Service 
Westside Baptist Church, 4001 Hughes Ave.
Speaker:  The Reverend Susan Butler, Rector, Grace Episcopal Church  

Saturday,  9 a.m. Annual Prayer Breakfast          Donation $15
Second Missionary Baptist Church, 2305 E. Third St. 
Speaker: The Reverend Kevin M. Smith, pastor, New City Fellowship Church 

Sunday, 4 p.m.  Dr. King's Birthday Party 
New Zion Baptist Church, 809 East M. L. King Blvd.
Speaker:  Ashton Alexander, youth minister, New Emanuel Missionary Baptist Church  

Monday, 4 p.m.  Memorial March
From Olivet Baptist Church at 740 East ML King Boulevard to Tivoli Theatre at the Corner of Sixth and Broad Streets

Monday, 5 p.m. Main Program
Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.
Keynote Address:  Mr. Erran F. Persley, U. S. Department of Commerce Washington, DC

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