As the 90th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. draws near, organizations around metro Atlanta will honor the influence of the homegrown hero.
Observed on the third Monday of January, MLK Day, will be marked by lectures and parades, as well as a prayer and community service that the Baptist minister's commitment to nonviolence rights.
King's legacy is the focus of a 10-day celebration at his namesake King Center for Nonviolent Social Change , 449 Auburn Ave., NE, Atlanta. The celebration will include a workshop and a children's book program.
The center's hallmark is the commemorative 10 a.m. service on Jan. 21 at Ebenezer Baptist Church . The ecumenical program features speakers from different faiths and different state, federal and international governments. It provides provides a reminder for people to work in volunteering as a tribute to King's work. Among large service projects in metro Atlanta:
• Hands on Atlanta will mobilize more than 1,500 volunteers at 25 different service projects across Atlanta on Jan. 21. In addition, the group will host its Signature Sunday Supper on Jan. 20 as a kickoff to a national Civic Dinners campaign to believe meaningful conversation. For volunteer opportunities, call (404) 979-2820. The City of East Point will hold its Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service from 11 am to 3 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Jefferson Park Recreation Center, 1431 Norman Berry Drive, East Point. The event features free food, health and wellness checks, nutrition classes and more.
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• The Packaged Good and Homeless at Heart 2,000 care packages for homeless and disadvantaged families in Atlanta. The event runs from 11 am to 4:30 pm Jan. 21 at the Marcus Jewish Community Center, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody.
• Panola Mountain State Park (2620 Highway 155 SW, Stockbridge) will host an MLK Day of Service, for volunteers to help spruce up the park from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 21. Projects include trail maintenance and removal of invasive plants.
• The City of Decatur holds its 17 th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Service Project from Jan. 19-21 at various private homes in the city limits. Volunteers will work for the home citizens.
The Atlanta History Center and the Atlanta History Center Midtown will be admitted from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 21 in honor of King. "An African-American poet" by Paul Laurence Dunbar, followed by a conversation with the filmmaker, and 3:30 p.m. talk by Adam Parker, author of "Outside Agitator: The Civil Rights Struggle of Cleveland Sellers Jr. "
• The Georgia Alliance for Social Justice will honor King Martin Luther King Jr. March and Rally on Jan. 21. The free event is open to any person or organization. Marchers will assemble at 1 p.m. at Peachtree and Baker streets, and at march begins at 1:45 p.m.
Regions across the metro region also will host the local parades, ceremonies and other celebrations for the holiday. Among them:
• Cobb County and the Cobb branch of the NAACP will present a tribute to King with dance, dramatic readings and musical performances at 10 a.m. Jan. 21 at Turner Chapel AME, 492 North Marietta Parkway NE, Marietta.
• The United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County will host the 17th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. Celebration and Parade at 11 am Jan. 21 at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville.
• The Henry County NAACP will be a prayer for the King's legacy. Advance tickets are $ 20 ($ 10 for students) for the breakfast at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 21 at Shiloh Baptist Church, 262 Macon St., McDonough. The parade begins at 11 am Jan. 21 from Henry County Performing Arts Center, 37 Lemon St., McDonough.
• Sandy Springs will hold its free Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at 10 a.m. in the Studio Theater of City Hall, 1 Galambos Way.
• The Rockdale County Think Tank will host its 3rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade at noon Jan. 21, starting at Rockdale High School and ending at Rockdale County Courthouse in Conyers.
• Drummers will complete the MLK Day 5K Let Freedom Run at 8 a.m. in Piedmont Park. Registration is $ 30 and includes music and dancing, which is a fundraiser for churches, school groups and other organizations that participate.
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