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Sunday's MLK celebration will include a gospel performance led by Eric Armstead.
BY EMILY MONTGOMERY
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." The Multicultural OutReach Effort will be encouraging that sentiment at its annual commemoration of King's birthday this Sunday at 3 p.m.
Xavier Richardson, vice president of MORE, said the group wants this event to be a "community-wide celebration."
"We want to help to keep [King's] dream alive," Richardson added.
The event will start at 3 p.m. in the James Monroe High School auditorium.
It will have a format similar to previous years, including speeches by community leaders, dance and a reading of King's words by local high school students.
The main speaker will be Rebecca Adamson, president and founder of First Peoples Worldwide, a local nonprofit that works to fund local development projects for indigenous communities around the world.
Other speakers include Janel Donohue, president of the Rappahannock United Way; Chris Jones, editor of Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine; Anne Little, president of Tree Fredericksburg; and Antwan Perry, an academic counselor and adjunct instructor at Germanna Community College.
The Rev. James King, pastor of Land of Promise Church, will deliver a speech by King. The Rev. Lawrence A. Davies, a former mayor of Fredericksburg, will offer a prayer.
As in past years, a highlight of the program will be gospel led by Eric Armstead, music pastor at Mount Hope Baptist Church in Spotsylvania.
Armstead said that this is an opportunity for him to celebrate King's love of gospel and his work as a pastor.
He said that he enjoys performing at the event year after year because it has a "tremendous, unified atmosphere."
A new feature of the event will be activities for younger children, led by local AmeriCorps volunteers. Richardson said this could include worksheets, storytelling and, in keeping with the birthday party theme, cake.
Richardson expects 400 to 500 people to attend, and said that the event usually runs for about two hours. It is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.
For people who did not live during King's time, Richardson said he considers the event to be a valuable aspect of a continuing education about how much things have changed since then.
According to Susan Spears, MORE's founder and president, the group's mission is "to develop a community that utilizes diversity to enrich itself and to bring people together."
This is the seventh year that MORE has hosted the celebration.
Emily Montgomery: 540/374-5417