Two events planned for later this month will celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Hopkins County.
The first event will be on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 2 p.m. and will be live streamed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/408448376996390 or by searching “MLK Celebration 2021” and will also be streamed on YouTube as well.
Event coordinator and Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Supreme Court District 1 Commissioner, Tim Thomas, said this will be the 39th annual celebration of King that will be in Hopkins County.
“The theme of the event is ‘Empowering the Dream: The Fierce Urgency of now,’ ” said Thomas.
The keynote speaker of the virtual event will be Terrance Sullivan, who is the executive director of the KCHR in Louisville.
Sullivan also previously served as a policy director at the Kentucky Youth Advocates where he focused on poverty, criminal justice, juvenile justice and education, according to a biography write-up from Thomas.
Sullivan is a graduate from the University of Louisville where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in political science focusing on law and public policy and a minor in economics.
He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, and worked with the Jefferson County Attorney, the Louisville Metro Council and the Legislative Research Commission of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Along with Sullivan, there will be performances from Bloodline, a group based out of Evansville, a youth dance team named Awesome Praise from the All Nations House of Praise in Hopkinsville and Rev. Marvin Hightower, the pastor of Word of Faith Christian Center in Madisonville, will be a guest soloist.
Thomas said that the two recipients of the Madisonville Community College Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarships will be announced at the event as well as the first and second place winners of the Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest. The essay contest winners will receive a plaque, Chamber Check and a certificate.
Thomas said the county celebration will have various pastors participate in the program as well, and Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield Jr. will also speak at the program.
The City of Madisonville will have their 32nd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Wreath Laying Service virtually with streaming beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 18.
“Due to restrictions, it is going to be in the city council chambers and it will be shown on the city’s Facebook account and also streamed live on the Focus with Tim Thomas television program,” said Thomas. “We are encouraging people to watch it from wherever they may be able to watch it from there. Only the program participants will be in the city chambers.”
The keynote speaker will be Madisonville Human Resources Director Lynn Owens, who will be introduced by Hopkins County Circuit Court Clerk Tanya Bowman.
Owens served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years and is a graduate of Kentucky State University and Liberty University, according to information provided by the city.
Thomas said the celebration of King and his work is needed now more than ever, citing the events in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday where numerous Trump supporters breached the inside of the Capitol as the presidential election results were verified causing a lockdown.
“That is why we selected the theme we have for the county service,” said Thomas. “I think that in the time we are seeing, especially in the last week … it is important that we exemplify the words of Dr. King and try to bring them to the forefront. The urgency of now is more important than ever.”