King Center's 2013 MLK Holiday Observance Kicks Off 50th Anniversary of "I Have A Dream" Speech with the Salute to Greatness Dinner Focus on the Need for World-Wide Peace and Nonviolence in Our Local Communities

ATLANTA, Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The King Center has announced plans for the 2013 observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., beginning a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech.  "Remember! Celebrate! Act! King's Dream for Our World," is the theme for the birthday commemoration program which begins Friday, January 11, 2013 and continues through the MLK holiday on January 21. All events, except the Annual Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner, are free of charge.

"We will present an inspiring, educational and multi-faceted program of events commemorating the 84th anniversary of the birthday of my father, Martin Luther King, Jr.," said King Center CEO, Elder Bernice A. King, in announcing the 10-day observance. "Our program will kick off the golden anniversary commemoration of the "I Have a Dream" speech, and will help launch our mobilization to promote greater unity of all Americans and people all over the world in the spirit of his dream," she continued.

"The King Center's challenge to people of all nations is to begin a new era of nonviolent conflict reconciliation bringing people together across racial, religious, political and cultural divisions in keeping with Dr. King's vision of the essential unity of all people," said Elder King. "We want to ignite a flame of Freedom in the hearts of people everywhere that long for peace, prosperity, justice, and yes, even brotherhood and sisterhood," she added.

A highlight of the annual program, the Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner, which will be held on Saturday, January 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Atlanta's Hyatt Regency Hotel Centennial Ballroom, will embrace the spirit of Dr. King's dream by honoring Bangladeshi Economist Muhammad Yunus, 'father of micro-credit,' founder of the Gameen Bank and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Peace. The Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner will also honor Aflac, Inc., with Chairman/CEO Daniel Amos accepting the award, in recognition of Aflac's extraordinary efforts to promote education, youth opportunities and economic development in diverse communities.

Dream Host Sponsors of the Salute to Greatness Dinner include: The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Target Corporation, Captain Planet Foundation and many others. The Salute to Greatness Dinner 'Afterglow' host is Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC.

The MLK birthday observance Annual Commemorative Service, a major event during the King Week celebration scheduled for Monday, January 21, will feature keynote speaker the Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who Elder King called "an electrifying orator" and "one of the most dynamic and inspiring proponents of the social gospel in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr." Reverend Rodriguez's address will mark the first time a Latino leader serves as the keynote speaker for the Commemorative Service, which is the nation's 'flagship' ecumenical religious observance on the MLK holiday. The program, which will be held in Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary, will also include presentations from people of every race and diverse faiths.

The 2013 MLK Observance will provide a strong emphasis on youth leadership development and nonviolence education, through several events, including The King Youth Expo and Showcase, Jan. 12, 12:00 noon till 4:00 p.m., which will showcase young leaders who are demonstrating Dr. King's spirit, philosophy and teachings in their respective schools, homes, communities and places of worship and provide peer to peer training for other youth. The Expo will also feature an on-site "Tweet Suite," where young people can generate ideas for youth violence prevention and discuss strategies for creating the 'beloved Community' of Dr. King's Dream.

Other youth-focused events of the 10-day observance of Dr. King's birthday include: The King Health and Wellness Fest, Jan. 12; the Metropolitan Atlanta Violence Prevention Project, Jan. 15; Kingian Nonviolence Collegiate Leadership Orientation, Jan. 16; the Dream Art Contest Awards Ceremony, Jan. 19; and the Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner, where the Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award will be presented. 

Other major events of the MLK Birthday observance include the State of Georgia Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council Program, Jan. 17; the Naturalization Ceremony of the U.S. Immigration Services, Jan. 18; the King Center Book Signing, Jan. 20; the King Holiday March and Rally, Jan. 20 and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Project on Jan. 21 - all day.

For more information about the MLK birthday observance program and the year-long commemoration of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, please contact 404-526-8900 or visit www.thekingcenter.org

Media Contact: Steve Klein (404)526-8944

Local press contact: Bunnie Jackson-Ransom (404)-226-8000

SOURCE The King Center



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