PHOENIX — For nearly four decades, the Arizona MLK Celebration Committee has been at the forefront of honoring the life, dream, and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Valley and Arizona.
After two years of virtual celebrations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization is looking forward to returning to in-person events for 2023.
"We end the year in January. Take a month off, and then we go back into planning,” said Ron Williams, the co-chairman of the event.
He said it takes a village and a dedicated team in order to make the event happen.
Several events are planned to mark the organization’s 37th annual celebration.
Friday morning, hundreds attended a scholarship breakfast at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Sunday, a candlelight service is planned at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in downtown Phoenix.
Monday will be the annual Arizona MLK Celebration March and Festival that ends at Margret T. Hance Park.
For members of the organization, including Williams giving back is something he said he was inspired to do as a result of Dr. King’s mission to provide service to others over self.
“It inspired me to look out for others and do whatever I can to offer help to other people,” said Williams.
Williams, who grew up in Memphis as a young boy, remembers the night King was assassinated remembers the fight to get Arizona to recognize King’s
“When I moved here in 1985, that was the talk. We had a governor against it. While we may have been last in the country to recognize the holiday for Dr. King. We were the first to have the holiday approved by voters,” said Williams.
He’s hoping the traditions and legacies of Dr. King that inspired him can now resonate with a new generation.
“We have many kids today that don’t know what really happened then. We have people trying to change history and say it didn’t happen,” remarks Williams.
Here's a list of other MLK events happening across the Valley:
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