Volunteers help feed community in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

MLK Commission Vice Chair Alvin Jackson listens as Emma Watkins talks with a man picking up a boxed lunch at the Rome Civic Center on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021.

Rome’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration is still on for this weekend, but it will mostly be made up of virtual events.

Alvin Jackson, who serves on the MLK Jr. Commission in Rome, said the decision to shift to virtual programming is due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

“We don’t want people to think we’re letting Dr. King’s legacy die, so we figured having the two virtual events would give us an opportunity to bring his message and give people something to think about,” Jackson said.

This year’s celebration theme is “It starts with me” and was chosen by the King Center. Jackson explained that the theme is about people having conversations with each other, regardless of race or background.

“It’s important for us to discuss these sensitive topics with each other,” he said.

This year, the celebration will not have the Friday night talent show, but the commission will be hosting a virtual prayer breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday that will be livestreamed on Flatrock Baptist Church’s Facebook page. Dr. K. Scott McClure will be the keynote speaker at the event.

“We ask everyone to gather for breakfast in their homes on Saturday and tune in to hear what Dr. McClure has to say,” Jackson said.

The ecumenical service, which brings together people from all different denominations, is at 5 p.m. Sunday. It will be livestreamed on Mt. Olive Baptist Church’s Facebook page. Rev. Timothy D. Careathers, the senior pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, will be the keynote speaker.

On Monday, the annual communitywide march will take place downtown in person, starting at 11:30 a.m. from the corner of First Avenue and Broad Street. The march will then go down Broad Street and end at Rome City Hall.

After speaking with Northwest Georgia District Public Health Director Dr. Gary Voccio, Jackson said they’ll be able to do the outside march safely with everyone wearing masks.

Following the march, there will be a drive-through lunch at the Rome Civic Center, 400 Civic Center Drive, around 12:20 p.m.

“We really hope to bring the full celebration back next year and hopefully we’ll have this virus under control,” he said.

Also on Saturday, Keep Rome-Floyd Beautiful will host a service day from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be three clean-ups: one at Kingfisher Trail, one along Mount Berry Trail and another along Lee Avenue which is behind McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme on Turner McCall Boulevard.

You can register for one of the clean-ups on the KRFB website under events. Registration ends Friday.

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