Southwest Louisiana’s Martin Luther King Jr. Festival returns after last year’s pandemic.
Setbacks have prepared MLK festival organizers for a comeback. Last year’s MLK festival was postponed due to COVID-19, and organizers are excited to have it back. The MLK Festival honors the courageous efforts and sacrifices of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The festival kicks off on Saturday January 15 with the annual Memorial Brunch. Events are scheduled until Monday January 17th. The theme for this year is: “The path to freedom is a difficult path. It always creates temporary setbacks.
“We’ve had a lot of setbacks,” said event organizer Roxie Smith, “but despite those setbacks, we kept moving forward. Through the hurricanes, the ice storm, the floods, we are trying to move forward and we are not going to stop.
The festivities will begin with the annual Memorial Brunch, which will be held at the Washington-Marion High School Gymnasium, 2702 Pineview St., at 10:30 am The brunch honors many deserving and exceptional people in the community. There will be guest speakers, music and community heroes will receive the “MLK Unsung Hero Award”.
The Faye Brown Blackwell Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented this year to Dr Percival Kane, who retired from medicine at the end of 2021.
The late Faye Blackwell knew a bit about setbacks. In the 1980s, she envisioned the R&B radio station, KZWA. Although fundraising was a daunting task, she never gave up on her idea of connecting and sharing information in the community she loved. Blackwell also served on the school board and was one of the first blacks to serve on Lake Charles City Council.
If she had had a mantra, it would have been “learn and get involved,” according to Smith, Blackwell’s sister.
On Sunday, events continue, when performers from across Louisiana gather for the Gospel Extravaganza to be held at the Throne of Grace Fellowship located at 2401 6th St. in Lake Charles at 6 p.m. Entrance is free and open to the public.
On Monday, the 38th Annual MLK Parade will take place through the streets of Lake Charles at 11:00 am, with programming starting at the Lake Charles Civic Center at 8:30 am The parade will begin on Broad Street, meet at Enterprise Blvd. then to Mill St., back to Lakeshore Drive and the Civic Center. This year’s Parade Marshal is Ward 3 Nate Keller. Sign up for the Eventbrite Research: 38th Annual MLK Parade. Tickets are available to search Eventbrite: 38th Annual MLK Brunch Online.
For more information, contact Cary A. Chavis at [email protected]