Freedom March on Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend

In this 2019 photo a bundled up crowd of about 200 rises above the freezing temperature for a show of unity Monday at the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom March on Broad Street in Rome. 

Since it was declared a national holiday in 1986, the Rome-Floyd area is one of the few communities to hold a four-consecutive-day celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The King Center in Atlanta chose “The Urgency of Now” as this year’s theme. Rome City Commissioner Sundai Stevenson said the theme is about applying King’s message and teachings to today’s struggles and what we’re all going through as individuals.

The annual celebration kicks off with the “Back Down Memory Lane Production” which will include a fashion and talent show. This year’s featured act will be Caribbean Dancers.

On Saturday, Lovejoy Baptist Church on Branham Avenue will host the Family Prayer Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Senior Pastor at Rome First United Methodist Church Robert Brown will be delivering the keynote speech, where he will speak about being “fully informed, fully engaged and fully active” in fulfilling King’s message in the world.

The keynote will be followed by a performance from the MLK Jr. Community Children’s Choir.

Tickets are on sale at Kroger on Turner McCall Boulevard for $15 a person or $95 for a full table of seven.

On Sunday, people from all denominations will gather at Garden Lakes Baptist Church on Redmond Circle for an ecumenical service at 5 p.m. Rev. Timothy McDonald of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta will deliver the keynote at this service and the audience will get to enjoy a performance from the MLK Jr. Community Choir afterwards.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, hundreds of people from all different backgrounds all over Northwest Georgia will gather at 11 a.m. at the corner of First Avenue and Broad Street and participate in the Freedom March.

Starting at 11:30 a.m., the six block long march will end at Rome City Auditorium where participants will listen to keynote speaker attorney Meredith Lilly, Director of External Affairs for DeKalb County. Lilly worked on former President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The speech will be followed by another performance from the MLK Jr. Community Choir.

Lunch will be served following the Noon Program at City Auditorium at the Rome Civic Center on Jackson Hill. Everything except for the Family Prayer Breakfast is free and all-inclusive.

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