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The 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration drew a packed crowd to the Historic Ashland Armory. Photo by Kim Budd

MLK Jr. Day plans include celebration, march to Plaza

The Ashland Chamber of Commerce and Community Planning Committee invites you to attend the 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 21.

For more than 30 years, the community has come together to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. here in Ashland. This event is planned months in advance and requires many key volunteers, organizations and volunteer-performers to make the celebration all come together. The Ashland Chamber is proud to be the lead sponsor of this important and heart-warming community celebration.

This year the chamber took on an even larger role as Lead Event Chairs and are working with talented community members to put on this event once again, FREE for the community.

The 31st annual Ashland Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration starts at noon Monday, Jan. 21, at the Historic Ashland Armory (208 Oak St.) in downtown Ashland. The public is invited to attend and celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and our diverse and vibrant community. Seating is always limited and available on a first-come basis. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. This is a family event and all ages are welcome.

For overflow attendees, a simulcast live stream will be presented at the Varsity Theatre. The celebration is free and open to the public. People are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. Please bring a reusable water bottle to limit disposable cup usage and trash.

The SOU Digital Media Center will live stream the event online at somlk.org/ashland. Thanks to Rogue Valley Community Television!

Historian D.L. Richardson will emcee the celebration. Dr. Richardson taught journalism at Southern Oregon University and has emceed the Ashland MLK Celebration for more than a decade.

The celebration is a true community event with participants from the Ashland School District, SOU, regional musicians, organizations, families and individuals. This year’s performers will include the Ashland High School Jazz Band, Ashland High School Black Student Union, Bishop Mayfield Band, Central Point School District, The Rogue Valley Peace Choir, SOU Black Student Union, Walker Elementary, Savannah and Brooklyn Williams and more!

After the celebration in the armory, the AHS and SOU Black Student Unions will lead participants in a march to the Plaza to listen to a recording of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. People are encouraged to attend the march even if they are unable to make the variety show in the armory. The march and gathering at the Plaza will be from roughly 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Lead sponsors of this event are the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, city of Ashland, the Historic Ashland Armory, SOU Multicultural Resource Center and Rogue Valley Community Television.

Why should you come? Dr. King’s leadership inspired a transformation in society toward greater dignity, compassion and justice for all people. The observance of the slain civil rights leader’s birthday invites reflection and offers the community an opportunity to be a part of further transformation, moving closer to Dr. King’s dream for the world. We invite you to attend. For more information, visit www.somlk.org, our Facebook event page (bit.ly/2H3xhJn) or call the Ashland Chamber at 541-482-3486.

Kelsey Frantz is projects and special events coordinator for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce/Travel Ashland. Chamber Communique appears monthly. For more information, go to www.ashlandchamber.com, call 541-482-3486 or stop by the office at 110 East Main St.

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