By Louise Lawarre
The Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition has altered its plans for MLK Day 2022 on January 17 due to the recent Covid surge. Two changes to the schedule released recently include:
- The MLK Day Commemorative March will begin, as announced, at the Freedom Center at 10:30 a.m. It will proceed directly to Washington Park for the closing interfaith prayer service at approximately 11:15 a.m..
- The MLK Day Commemorative Program will only be available virtually, at www.mlkcoalition.org. Music Hall will not be open to patrons. The program will air live, beginning at 12:00 noon. The recorded program will be available on the website after it concludes, through January.
Today’s voices for racial justice are speaking out about many issues, including access to health care during the pandemic, police reform, and rampant efforts at voter suppression. These voices reiterate and magnify Dr. King’s message from his Letter from a Birmingham Jail in which he admonishes us that “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” This was the inspiration for MLK Day 2022 theme: Your freedom and my freedom are bound together.
The Keynote Speaker for the 47th MLK Day Commemorative Program is Iris Roley. Roley is the proud partner of RoSho Awards & Graphics, the only Black-owned laser engraving company in the region. She is an original member of the Cincinnati Black United Front. She is dedicated to the reform of police departments and the implementation of public policy. Roley is currently working with a group of fresh, bold new leaders, “the Leaders of the Free World,” who have asserted that they specifically want to work on updates to the Collaborative Agreement.
Program performers include: Camille “Saba” Smith. Smith, the founder of the musical ensemble, “Saba Jazz,” as well as many other well-known groups, is in-demand as an accomplished, versatile studio vocalist and bandleader. Other solo performers are University of Cincinnati students, including vocalists Shakyra Welch, and Abby Adeji, along with spoken word artist Gerald Crosby. These students are part of the African American Cultural and Resource Center at UC.