MLK Day celebrations showcase acts of service, prayers, and political involvement

Movie DetailerWorld MLK Day celebrations showcase acts of service, prayers, and political involvement
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Communities throughout the United States honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday through acts of service, prayer services, and parades. However, with the November presidential election as a backdrop, some events took a noticeably political turn.
In Atlanta, King’s hometown, numerous speakers at the 56th annual commemorative service at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King once served as pastor, touched on the divisive partisan climate in the country. Bernice King, the daughter of the late civil rights leader, cautioned that “our very humanity is under attack.” Yet she emphasized that her father’s legacy of non-violence taught the world that “we can combat injustice and ignorance while still holding people accountable without seeking their destruction, diminishment, demeaning, or cancellation.”
Liz Cheney, former U.S. congresswoman who served on the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, harshly criticized former president and Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, without explicitly mentioning him by name. On that day, Trump’s supporters attempted to hinder Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential race. “A former president refuses to acknowledge his defeat and has convinced millions that our elections and democracy are no longer working,” Cheney stated. “He is endangering the very foundations of our nation, everything that Dr. King fought to preserve.”
Speaking at the MLK Day at the Dome rally at the South Carolina State House, Vice-President Kamala Harris declared that younger generations, two or three times removed from King, have witnessed their freedoms diminish — from legislation restricting voting rights to bans on abortions and the constant threat of gun violence, particularly in schools. “They even attempt to erase, overlook, and rewrite the shameful aspects of our history. Take, for instance, the Civil War — do I really need to state that it was about slavery?” Harris remarked.
Last month, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley faced criticism for not mentioning slavery when asked about the cause of the U.S. Civil War during a town hall in New Hampshire.
In Philadelphia, President Joe Biden observed the holiday by volunteering at Philabundance, a nonprofit food bank. He packed donation boxes with apples and engaged in casual conversation with the organization’s workers. Biden has volunteered at Philabundance for the past three years to commemorate the day of service in January.
The 29th annual Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service, touted as the largest and first King day of service in the United States, featured volunteer activities such as assembling care packages for victims of gun violence and distributing information packets for voters.
In Washington, Martin Luther King III, the son of the civil rights leader, took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at his father’s memorial.
In Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers, during a midday ceremony in the state capitol rotunda, expressed that the holiday presents an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment to address health disparities, fully fund public schools, and provide affordable housing, childcare, and transportation.

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