King Celebration ’20 sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission of Florida, Inc is January 12th – 20th in Gainesville/Alachua County. This year marks the 36th Year of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission of Florida, Inc. established in 1984. The mission of the MLK Commission is to continue the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by advocating and promoting nonviolently, the elimination of poverty, racism, and to promote social and economic justice in Alachua County and the State of Florida.
The King Commission notable highlight this year is the 31th Anniversary of the Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Award. The award recognizes the academic achievements, civic involvement, and leadership of high school seniors. The Commission, since 1989, has given nearly $200,000.00 to forty high school seniors in Gainesville/Alachua County.
King Celebration ’20 begins on Sunday, January 12 with the 35th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall of Fame Banquet to be held at the Best Western Gateway Grand Hotel, reception, 5:30 pm, dinner at 6:30 pm. It will feature the “State of the Dream Address” by the Honorable Rodney J. Long, Founder & President, of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission of Florida, Inc. This year’s theme is: “A Community In Crisis: What’s Your Response?”. Donations are $75.00 each with no tickets sold at the door. The 31st Annual Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Award will be presented to Mr. Spencer Gregory, Senior, P.K. Yonge Research School. The scholarship Award is sponsored by Publix Super Market Charities, Inc., and UF Health.
Tuesday, January 14th is the Remembering Martin and Coretta Program to be held at Abiding Faith Christian Church, 6529 NE 39th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida. This year’s event will feature special tributes by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The Event is sponsored by C. Ann Scott and the MLK Commission. Admission is free.
The Highlight of King Celebration is the Town Hall Symposium titled, “The Impact of the Marijuana Industry On the African American Community.” The Town Hall forum will be held on Wednesday, January 15 at 6:30 pm at the MLK Multi-Purpose Center located at 1028 NE 14th street. The event is sponsored by Infinite Energy, Josiah T. Walls Bar Association and the MLK Commission. Admission is Free.
On Thursday, January 16th and Friday, January 17th , The Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission and Star Center Theatre Presents: “The Watsons Goes To Birmingham,” Theatrical Play for elementary, middle and high school students at 6:30 pm the MLK Multipurpose center located at 1028 NE 14th street. Cash prizes. The event is sponsored by Gainesville Regional Utilities. Admission is free.
The National Holiday Activities on January 20th will begin at 11:00 am at the MLK Memorial Gardens in Downtown Gainesville with the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Program for our 2020 Hall of Fame Award Recipient N’Kwanda Jah, Community Activist (see attached Bio) and the 2020 Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Award Recipient Mr. Spencer Gregory, Senior, P.K. Yonge DRS. The event is sponsored by the MLK Commission. The event is free and open to the public.
The National Holiday Kick Off Program sponsored by the MLK Commission will feature Mr. Spencer Gregory, Senior, P.K. Yonge Research School and this year’s recipient of the 31st Annual Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Award on Monday, January 20th 12:00 noon at the Bo Diddley Downtown Plaza. Admission of Free. .
The Annual Commemorative March sponsored by Cox Communications, Coca Cola Beverages Florida and the MLK Commission will begin at 1:00 pm at the MLK Memorial Gardens to the Martin Luther King, Jr., Multipurpose Center on Waldo Road.
The National Holiday Gospel Program sponsored by UF Health will feature The Bethune Cookman Inspirational Gospel Choir and local talent will conclude the King Celebration Activities on Monday, January 20 at 2:00 pm at the MLK Multipurpose Center. Admission is free.
Since 1989, the MLK Commission of Fl., Inc., has accomplished the following: established King Celebration a week of activities in 1985 which commemorates the death and celebrates the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1986, the Commission completed the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Gardens located in Downtown Gainesville. In 1986, the Martin Luther King, Jr., Hall of Fame was created which recognizes local citizens who have demonstrated and espoused those principles and deeds of Dr. King. To date, thirty nine individuals have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The MLK Commission was instrumental in spearheading the naming of the 1.5 million multipurpose center built by the City of Gainesville in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The MLK Commission of Florida, Inc., sponsors and or co-sponsors workshops on culture diversity, education and town hall symposiums on issues of the day. The Commission was instrumental in the successful implementation of the Charter Officer for Equal Opportunity for the City of Gainesville. The Commission collaborated with the University of Florida Office of the President with a Helping Our Neighbors Holiday Programs that provided food baskets to needy families in our smaller cities and is an annual co-sponsor of the Strike Out Hunger Week including a communitywide food drive to help our food banks and pantries and a Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway program with the Long Foundation, Inc.