The community is invited to attend a candlelight memorial service and a family empowerment summit, among other events, this weekend in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On Sunday, Ebenezer Baptist Church will hold an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Memorial Service, starting at 5 p.m.
The Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the N.C. NAACP, is scheduled to serve as keynote speaker. Rocky Mount Councilman Reuben Blackwell also will speak, and winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest have been invited to give their speeches.
The candlelight service typically is held the Sunday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This year, however, organizers moved the event to the following weekend because of the presidential inauguration, said the Rev. Dr. Thomas Walker, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The service is open to anyone, Walker said.
“We invite the public to come and participate,” he said.
King was a man of great vision, who saw the possibilities of change, Walker said. King’s dream has become a reality in many ways, but it’s a reality that still is unfolding, Walker said.
Blackwell said it’s important to remember that the United States still is working to achieve full civil rights for all residents.
“I wish we didn’t have to struggle, but it’s very clear that there are areas where there’s still much work to be done,” Blackwell said. “While we can celebrate progress and we can remember the sacrifices that have been made, there are still sacrifices that have yet to be made.”
Blackwell encouraged people to continue to work to transform the community, city, state and nation to the beloved community that King expressed a hope and vision for.
Ebenezer Baptist Church will hold a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The church is located at 702 Raleigh Blvd.
Saint Mark A.M.E. Church will hold a breakfast at 9:15 a.m. Saturday, with a symposium of speakers from 10 a.m. to noon. The speakers will address topics of family, health, education and entrepreneurship.
The theme is “The Reality of the Dream.”
“We feel like these are four topics that need addressing in order to make that dream a reality,” said the Rev. Terence Thomas, pastor at Saint Mark A.M.E. Church.
He encouraged people to attend the symposium where they can gain information that will empower them. It will take everyone working together to make King’s dream a reality, Thomas said.
“We have to ourselves become the change that he fought for and died for,” Thomas said.
On Sunday, Saint Mark A.M.E. Church is celebrating Men’s Day at 11 a.m. That afternoon, the Rev. Richard Allen Gerald from Metropolitan Baptist Church is scheduled to speak at 3 p.m. at Saint Mark A.M.E. Church.