Tyler's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration will be making a return after being absent for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The committee made the decision Tuesday to proceed with MLK activities, which includes the MLK march in Downtown Tyler.
The parade is set to start on the square at 9:30 a.m. and end at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception located at 423 S. Broadway Ave.
In recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Longview Area Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance will host a virtual church service Monday.
The service will be livestreamed at noon from Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Longview and will be broadcast on the ministerial alliance’s Facebook page.
“We had originally planned to have an in-person service but due to this recent omicron variant that’s spreading like wildfire, I deemed it unsafe,” Longview Area Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance President LaDarian Brown said. “So, it will just be virtual again this year.”
Keynote speaker for the event will be the Rev. D.J. Nelson, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Longview.
MLK Day, Brown said, is about remembering and celebrating what King stood for.
“The whole purpose of why Coretta Scott King fought to have his birthday as a holiday was so people would remember what he stood for, which was equality, fighting for peace but in the midst of that fight, doing it peacefully,” he said. “Not to mention, he was a preacher, a Christian; and what better way to celebrate someone’s life, what better way to remember and talk about unity than to do it in a worship setting.”
Other area events in recognition of MLK Day include:
Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday, Texan Theater, 204 S. Kilgore St., Kilgore. Hosted by the Kilgore Men and Women of Alliance, the event will include food vendors and entertainment. In addition to honoring the life and legacy of King, the event also grants special honors to members of the community who promote unity, success and fellowship in Kilgore and who embody King’s mission of equality and compassion. Cost: Free. Information: Kilgore Men and Women of Alliance Facebook page.
Third Annual East Texas MLK Spoken Word Contest and Open Mic, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, The Foundry Coffee House, 202 S. Broadway Ave., Tyler. Entry fee for poets: $10. $150 cash for best poets. General admission: $5. Information: (972) 704-5001.
“The Music of Sam Cooke: A Change is Gonna Come,” 7 p.m. Saturday, LeTourneau University Belcher Center, Longview. Featuring singer Bradd Marquis. The concert will include a post-show talk about Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights. Tickets: $20 to $38. Information: https://www.belchercenter.com/index.html .
“Unity in the Community,” a virtual prayer service celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., 10 a.m. Saturday. Hosted by Jarvis Christian College, the free event will feature guest speakers and performances. Registration: (430) 247-1479 or https://forms.office.com/r/QwBDTmNV9Z .