Annual MLK celebration set for Monday

Published 9:29 am Monday, January 21, 2019

The Winchester-Clark County Unity Committee has a dream this year: to instill love and teach acceptance and tolerance in the new and younger generations.

Organizer Deatra Newell the committee is doing so by harnessing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of peace and equality in the 33rd celebration of MLK’s birthday in Winchester.

“Martin Luther King’s message is vital,” Newell said. “At this point … in our lives and the 21st Century, it’s more important now we teach our children different from what we grew up.”

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The committee organized the annual event which begins at 10 a.m. Jan. 21 at the St. Joseph Fellowship Hall, 248 S. Main St.

Newell said the morning would begin with a breakfast and music accompaniment by the George Rogers Clark High School jazz band.

The celebration is free and will be open to the public until it ends at around 2 p.m.

The event will also feature speaker Ambyr Graves Blair, a native to Winchester.

“She grew up here all her life,” Newell said. “Her mother died when she was young. Her church adopted her. She has broken great barriers in her family to become a supervisor over social workers in Lexington. On her resume, she has a degree in psychology. She has overcome a lot of adversity in life; it goes to show if you put your mind to it, regardless of the things that come your way that may not always be good, you can do whatever you want to do.”

Newell said it’s essential for Blair to be the speaker this year, primarily to encourage the young people of Winchester that they too can go on to achieve greatness despite the odds.

The program also includes a welcome by County Judge-Executive Chris Pace, prayer and blessing of the food, an introduction of the speaker by Martha Miller, a performance by the Broadway Baptist Church Praise Dancers and Carolyn Burton singing “Lift Every Voice” and “I’m Free.” The GRC Cardinal Singers will also perform, Mayor Ed Burtner will present the Humanitarian Award, and Rick Beach will give the closing prayer.

The community is invited to march to the courthouse from the fellowship hall when the main program finishes.

Rev. John Taylor will also deliver part of King’s “I have a dream” speech.

The Winchester-Clark County Unity Committee, formerly ML King Unity Committee, started in 1986 after President Ronald Reagan declared MLK’s birthday a national holiday.

Its purpose was to ensure the community came together each year to recognize and commemorate King’s life and his message. It has done so ever since with an annual march and celebration.

Newell said she is thankful for the volunteers and contributors that make the event possible.

Newell said she invites everybody to come out, enjoy the event and to be a part of keeping MLK’s memory alive.

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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