MILLEDGEVILLE — Civil rights advocate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy and vision of a beloved community will be honored throughout Milledgeville-Baldwin County on Monday’s Day of Service as families, friends and coworkers across the nation are empowered to bridge barriers.
“For 2013 we’re creating new opportunities for the campus and local community to connect and learn about Dr. King’s passion to unite people of all colors,” said Emmanuel Little, chair of this year’s MLK planning committee. “Bridging the Gap is this year’s theme. We are not only bridging the gap between Georgia College and the community but also the older and younger generations.”
Georgia Military College held a special ceremony Friday in the Goldstein Center for Performing Arts at which guest speaker Joycelynn Nelson spoke to students on the topic of memories versus dreams.
“What are your dreams? The fate of the world moving forward lies within them. Keep your memories close to you,” said Nelson while citing Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat.”
GMC Prep School students in the Student Government Association are also doing their part in serving the community Saturday cleaning up the grounds and areas of the river at the Oconee River Greenway.
Communities In Schools of Milledgeville-Baldwin County (CISMBC) and the Communities In Schools AmeriCorps Tutor Program is partnering with Georgia Power Company and Georgia College students to kick off the Day of Service by completing school beautification projects at Eagle Ridge Elementary School. From 9 a.m. to noon Monday, volunteers who want to help plant, rake, trim shrubs, pick-up trash and paint must dress appropriately for the outdoors and bring a pair of gloves. CISMBC will provide snacks and drinks.
At noon Georgia College and the community will march from Huley Park to Flagg Chapel Baptist Church.
“The march is a great way to commemorate the legacy of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. Remembering that marching was used back then to bring about change and bring forth issues to communities,” Little said. “The march normally takes about 45 minutes. We’re providing transportation for anybody who wants to leave their car at Huley Park to march. After the tribute service, the shuttle will go back to the park for the cookout. For the march, we will go down Wayne Street, make a right at the Black Heritage Plaza at Mc Intosh Street, a left on Wilkinson Street, right on Hancock Street and a left on Clark Street to head to Flagg Chapel.”
Throughout the march, students from Georgia College’s Department of English and Rhetoric will deliver excerpts from Dr. King’s speeches.
“The first stop will be at Black Heritage Plaza by Allen’s Market. The second stop will be at the Baldwin County Courthouse,” Little said. “At last year’s march, we had well more than 100 people from all different backgrounds. There were several people from Georgia College, and there were small children with their grandparents. It’s a great way to bridge that gap and make that connection. I was definitely pleased with last year’s turnout and hopefully it will be even better this year.”
A tribute service will follow at 1 p.m. at Flagg Chapel with keynote speaker Richard Ramsey, who has served more than 30 years as an educator and is founder of the club Lifelong Solutions for Male Students. Ramsey will speak about the value of education and sacrifices the civil rights generation made in order for future generations to succeed.
“Georgia College President Steve Dorman will deliver closing remarks. It’s a great chance for him to introduce himself to the community,” Little said.
Following the tribute service, a community cookout will be held at Huley Park at 2 p.m. with food, music and vendors. A social justice panel will discuss community and social issues.
“This year we’re adding a social justice panel where they will talk about community issues particularly in the context of Dr. King’s dream,” Little said. “We will have official panelists and take questions from the crowd; we want to make this as interactive as possible.”
Quentin Howell, a well-known political figure within the community, is slated to be among the panelist of community and religious leaders and elected officials facilitating discussions on topics ranging in social, racial, religion and economics.
“The day will be a time to celebrate with a purpose and move the entire community forward. The goal of the panel discussion is to continue the conversation after the day is over. If you continue the conversation, you can find some solutions,” Howell said. “I think this panel discussion will be the highlight of the afternoon. This is a good time to bring the community together across racial and economic divides and move forward in a positive direction.”
Georgia College also will hold a food-and-book drive through Friday, Feb. 8 to benefit the Twin Lakes Library System, Baldwin State Prison and Cafe Central.
“The book drive is a new component this year. Mass incarceration is an increasingly important issue, and literacy is an important part of that,” Little said. “We want to try to reach out to that population and kids as well. We thought a book drive would be great to start it off and then who knows what will come of it later on.”
Non-perishable goods and gently used books can be dropped off at Walter B. Williams Park and around Georgia College’s campus, including the Cultural Center at the Smith House, Sandella’s on West Campus, Library & Instructional Technology Center and The Max dining hall on main campus.
Georgia College and community organizations can compete for a $200 gift certificate from Sodexo by dropping off the most goods at The Max between 1 and 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8.
“The overall goal during our three-week celebration is to bring a true sense of unity between our campus and the local community in the spirit of Dr. King’s dream. It’s important for everyone to realize that the ‘dream’ is real, but it will never truly come to fruition without unified action toward a common cause,” Little said. “I just hope people will be able to take advantage of some of these events and activities and take Dr. King’s legacy and push it forward. While we have made a lot of strides, there’s still a way to go.”
For more information about Monday’s events and activities, e-mail Little at firstname.lastname@example.org. To volunteer to help beautify the Eagle Ridge campus, e-mail Sara Wood at email@example.com or Christi Tyson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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