DeKALB – The traditional local celebration of civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martin Luther King Jr. is being revamped as a Black History Month event after winter weather limited rehearsal time.
That means three congregations will not reflect on King’s legacy today with the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration. Instead, the celebration will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Federated Church of Sycamore, 612 W. State St.
The decision was made after Saturday’s snowfall canceled a rehearsal that day, but the details of the celebration itself are not expected to change.
The theme is “The Beloved Community: A Place at the Table.” This is the second installment of the beloved community theme, which event coordinator Beth Campen expects will last for a decade.
Campen said the beloved community refers to the community as a whole as well as smaller groups. According to the King Center’s website, thekingcenter.org, King and others used the term “beloved community” to describe a community that would not tolerate poverty, hunger or homelessness.
The “place at the table” portion of this year’s theme targets hunger by promoting the idea that everyone should be able to access food.
“There will be food,” Campen said. “It’s part of that communal idea. The table is an image I really want us to celebrate.”
In addition to food, the celebration will include songs performed by the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church choir and singers from the Rock Christian Church. Readings of various speech excerpts will be interspersed with the music.
Campen expects about 100 people to attend the event, but hopes the turnout will be larger. She also would like the event to inspire more community events throughout the year that promote the message of inclusiveness.
“In this event, I hope it will spark other events,” Campen said. “I hope others will use the beloved community theme and the idea will hopefully be everyone is welcome.”
The event originally was scheduled to align with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is celebrated on the third Monday of every January. King served as the co-pastor the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta from 1960 until his assassination in April 1968. The day recognizes King’s work as a nonviolent civil rights leader to end racism during the 1950s and ’60’s.
If you go What: “The Beloved Community: A Place at the Table” celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. When: 5 to 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8 Where: Federated Church of Sycamore, 612 W. State St.