King Celebration ’21 sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr., Commission of Florida, Inc is January 10th – 18th in Gainesville/Alachua County. This year marks the 37th 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.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and for safety reasons, several of our events will be held virtually and streamed live at: www.martinlutherkingcommission.org/, Facebook Live and YouTube platforms. Our National Holiday Events including the Hall of Fame Enshrinement, National Holiday Kickoff and National Holiday Gospel Program will be live at Citizen’s Filed since it can accommodate social distancing.
The King Commission notable highlight this year is the 32nd 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 $250,000.00 to high school seniors in Gainesville/Alachua County.
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. 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.
King Celebration ’21 began on Sunday, January, 10th with the 36th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall of Fame Gala, held via Zoom. This year featured 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 Hall of Fame Award Recipient is Aeriel Lane, Social Justice Activist (see attached bio). The Annual Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Award was presented to Ms. Taylor Hill-Miles, Senior, Eastside High School (see attached bio). The scholarship Award was sponsored by Gainesville Regional Utilities, Publix Super Market Charities, Inc., and UF Health. Our Friend of The Commission sponsors are: McDonald’s of Gainesville, Glassman & Zissimopulos, Florida Blue, Meldon Law and Law Offices of Robert Rush.
Tuesday, January 12th is the Remembering Martin and Coretta Program to be streamed live at: www.martinlutherkingcommission.org/, Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/MLKCOF and YouTube. This year’s event will feature special tributes from the Mu Upsilon Omega and Iota Lambda chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Nu Eta Lambda and Theta Sigma chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. The Event is sponsored by C. Ann Scott and the MLK Commission.
The Highlight of King Celebration is the Social Justice Town Hall Symposium titled, “Reclaiming the Dream: The Time Is Now!” The Town Hall Symposium will feature national, state and local social justice advocates and elected officials including our 2021 Hall of Fame Award Recipient Aeriel Lane. The forum will be streamed live at: www.martinlutherkingcommission.org/, Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/MLKCOF and YouTube on Wednesday, January 13th 6:30 pm. The event is sponsored by Infinite Properties, Josiah T. Walls Bar Association and the MLK Commission.
Due to the pandemic, the Annual Commemorative March is cancelled. The National Holiday Activities on January 18th will begin at 12:00 noon at Citizens Field. The Hall of Fame Enshrinement Program featuring the 2021 Hall of Fame Award Recipient Aeriel Lane, Social Justice Activist. The National Holiday Kickoff Program will feature Ms. Taylor Hill-Miles, 2021 Edna M. Hart Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Award Recipient, Senior, Eastside High School. The event is sponsored by Cox Communications and Coke Florida Beverages. Face Coverings and Social Distancing Required.
The National Holiday Gospel Program featuring CAJO Records Recording Artist and Grammy Nominated Canton Jones, with special performances by The Florida Fellowship Gospel Super Choir will conclude the National Holiday Events on Monday, January 18th 12:00 noon at Citizen’s Field. The event is sponsored by UF Health. Face Coverings and Social Distancing Required.