Events to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. begin

By Brie Handgraaf

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Local events to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy begin this week with the annual Oratorical Competition.

Area middle and high school students will compete on Jan. 12 for a chance to speak at the 25th annual Unity Breakfast. 
Sixth- through eighth-graders will deliver speeches based on the theme “Remember the Past, Envision the Future” while 
ninth- through 12th-graders will focus on “Reflecting on the Past, Embracing the Present, Envisioning the Future,” which is the theme for the Unity Breakfast.

The annual breakfast, scheduled for Jan. 21 at the Dunn Center at N.C. Wesleyan College, will feature the keynote speech of Avery Friedman, civil rights attorney and CNN Legal Analyst.

“Avery Friedman is a well-respected attorney, often championed for his years of success in the courtroom and for his work to advance our civil rights,” said Human Relations Department Archie Jones. “We are fortunate to have him serve as this year’s guest speaker for the 25th annual Unity Breakfast, and we are excited to hear his invaluable experience as he reflects on our theme for 2013.”

Breakfast is set to be served at 7 a.m. and the program is expected to start at 8 a.m. After the Unity Breakfast, a Day of Service at the Rocky Mount Senior Center, United Community Ministries and Habitat for Humanity is planned.

“Volunteers will perform some maintenance and yard work for seniors and those disabled, and complete litter cleanup along the Tar 
River Trail,” said N.C. Wesleyan College Director of Student Activities 
Adia Cuthbertson.

People can sign up at the breakfast or call 454-1682 or 937-2213, ext. 204, for more information.

Events organized by the 
Human Relations Department and the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission are expected conclude with the International Festival of Cultures from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 23 in Nash Community College’s Brown Auditorium.

“You can travel around the world in a couple of hours,” said Jones. “Enjoy song and dance, as well as food and attire from Malaysia, Asia, Central America, the Islamic community and much more.”

For information on the International Festival of Cultures or any other events to celebrate the life and legacy of King, call 972-1181.