- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
For state Sen. Hearcel Craig, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day of action.
"It's really a day on, and not a day off, because of what Dr. King represented and his focus on service," Craig said.
To that end, Craig is observing the federal holiday on Jan. 17, in part, by marching.
After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, Columbus' annual MLK Day march is back and is scheduled to get underway at 4:30 p.m., beginning and ending at City Hall, 90 W. Broad St. Downtown.
An illumination of City Hall and speakers will follow the march. Free parking is available by going to columbus.gov/MLK2022.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was born on Jan. 15, 1929. He was a Baptist minister and a leader of the civil rights movement, championing justice and equality from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968. His birth is celebrated each year on the third Monday of January, a federal holiday.
Craig said he's attended every MLK Day march held in Columbus since Michael B. Coleman became mayor. (The first was in 1987, a year after MLK Day was first observed.)
That's because to him, the annual march is more than a symbolic act. It's a manifestation of the sacrifices made by those who marched and protested in the 1950s and 1960s for voting rights, civil rights and equal protection under the law.
Their work made it possible for future generations to have a better life, said Craig, who also has served in the Ohio House of Representatives and on the Columbus City Council.
"It would be disingenuous to say that we have not had gains. We have had gains. My mother was a maid, cleaning houses," Craig said. But she was a lifelong learner, she continued to educate herself and insisted that we would do likewise. The reason why I'm in the Senate is (because of) all of those men and women who believed in me, challenged me and provided resources."
But that's not to say the work is done, he added.
"There are those that might want to turn back the gains that we realized in terms of voting rights. We still have certain issues around equity. We looked at the social determinants of health, and even right now Black children are dying at three times the rate as other children," Craig said, referring to the infant mortality rate in Ohio.
"Any child dying is too many. We know that we have work to do around the areas of housing, education and employment."
A through line can be drawn from the protests of the civil rights movement to those seen during the summer of 2020, sparked by the murder of George Floyd, Craig said.
"Dr. King said the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. But it does not bend by itself," Craig said. "So, we all need to continue to do all that we can to make sure that all of our families and children, no matter what their Zip code is, have fair opportunities and quality of life."
More Columbus MLK Day events
Earlier on Jan. 17, Craig is scheduled to speak at 12:15 p.m., and once more at 1:00 p.m., as part of an MLK Day Open House hosted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. by the Ohio History Center, in partnership with the King Arts Complex.
Performers at the open house, 800 E. 17th Ave., include Leap of Faith Dance Studio, Franklinton High School Steel Band, Roger Parish, Larry Robertson, NIA Performing Arts Ensemble, Transit Arts and Antonio Lamar.
Several other MLK Day events are planned. All are virtual and on Jan. 17 unless otherwise noted.
• Governor Mike DeWine will join the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission Thursday for the 37th annual Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Celebration to recognize exceptional Ohio individuals and organizations for their efforts to advance nonviolent social change. The ceremony will be livestreamed at noon at das.ohio.gov/mlk and rebroadcast on the Ohio Channel.
• Capital University’s 31st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning will recognize the civil rights leader with an opening convocation featuring keynote speaker, author and poet Hanif Abdurraqib, and workshops on race relations and other social justice-related topics.
The online event is free, but registration is required. For information or to register, visit capital.edu.
• Columbus’ Annual MLK Birthday Breakfast will be from 9 to 11 a.m. with a keynote address by Kristina Johnson, president of Ohio State University. This is the second year the breakfast has gone virtual.
• The Community of Holy Rosary & St. John the Evangelist is hosting its annual Martin Luther King Day celebration from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Holy Rosary-St. John Church, 660 South Ohio Ave.
The guest speaker is Andrea C. Pannell, vice president of stewardship for the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Columbus. A livestream of the event will be available at facebook.com/groups/hrsjfamilyandfriends for those who cannot or do not wish to attend in person. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
• Annual MLK Celebration hosted by Leadership Westerville and the MLK Jr. Legacy Project will be from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Deadline to register for the online program is Jan. 10. Cost is $20.
The program will feature a panel discussion moderated by WBNS-TV (Channel 10) anchor Angela An. Panelists include Christie Angel, president and CEO of YWCA Columbus, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Jaiza N. Page and Alex Shanks, director of community prevention initiatives for Equitas Health.
• The city of Worthington will honor Martin Luther King Jr. with online programming at 11 a.m. The Worthington United Methodist Church will live-stream the event on YouTube. The video will also be available on-demand after the program.
The program will focus on “The Future of the movement – the legacy of Dr. King” and include readings by several students from Worthington Schools. The program will also feature musical performances from the Capriccio choir and Urban Strings Youth Orchestra, as well as a special preview of the “Post No Ills” exhibition by artist Lance Johnson opening soon at the McConnell Arts Center.
• The city of Hilliard is hosting a new event called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Heart for Service and Volunteer Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hilliard Community/Senior Center, 3800 Veterans Memorial Dr.
• Olentangy Schools’ annual ONE Community conference will kick off a four-part event series celebrating the life of Dr. King with an MLK Day of Service. Olentangy students, staff and families are invited to learn about and serve local organizations in central Ohio that are working to address the inequities present in our communities. Donation drop-offs are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Olentangy Schools' administrative offices, 7840 Graphics Way in Lewis Center. Volunteers will greet community members and collect donations in a contactless drive-thru.
For more information, email Mikela Thomas, assistant director of equity and inclusion for Olentangy schools, at email@example.com.
• The city of Dublin encourages residents to take a hike through Thaddeus Kosciuszko Park from Jan. 10 through Jan. 28. This self-guided tour features signs with excerpts from Dr. King’s iconic “I Have A Dream” speech. On Jan. 17, The Dublin Link will be illuminated in red, white and blue to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
• The Delaware County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee and Ohio Wesleyan University are holding an online panel discussion of the film "FUNDI: The Story of Ella Baker" at 4 p.m. Jan. 16. (The film itself will not be screened.)
Scheduled panelists are the Unity Community Center’s Karriejoi Coit, executive director, and Ruchelle Pride, president of the board of directors, and Ohio Wesleyan’s Brianna Mack, assistant professor of politics and government; Antron Mahoney, assistant professor of Africana, Gender, and Identity Studies; and Anna duSaire, student and member of the Black Student Union.
Registration is required for the online Zoom discussion and may be made by visiting www.owu.edu/MLK.
• Ohio Wesleyan's 29th annual MLK Celebration will begin 11 a.m. on the university's Facebook page. The event will feature TED Talk-style presentations from Nicole Jackson, associate professor of history at Bowling Green State University; Tamika Vinson-Reid, co-chair of the Delaware African American Heritage Council, and Charles Montgomery, campus pastor and teaching pastor at Vineyard Columbus.
Chris Bournea and Stephen Borgna of ThisWeek Community News contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Things to do for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Columbus