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Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday celebration to be held Jan. 13-15, 2007

As part of the observance of the national Martin Luther King Day holiday, the Martin Luther King, Jr., West Virginia Holiday Commission, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and West Virginia State University (WVSU) will sponsor three events from Saturday, Jan. 13, through Monday, Jan. 15. Activities include an awards ceremony, an evening gala featuring performances by West Virginia artists and an ecumenical commemoration and celebration service, symbolic march and the annual bell-ringing ceremony. All activities are free and open to the public, with the exception of the awards ceremony.

The weekend’s activities begin on Saturday with an invitation-only awards ceremony honoring 24 young people, five individuals and five service organizations. The awards ceremony will be held at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex. Awards will be given for the YWCA’s 14th annual “Project on Racism” essay contest, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. poster contest, the Service Organization Honor Roll and the “Living the Dream” Awards.

The Commission, the Division and WVSU also will sponsor a gala evening program in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, on Saturday evening, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. Entitled “Living the Dream and Its Legacy: Agenda for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation in a Troubled World,” the gala will feature musical selections by the Montclaire String Quartet, Appalachian Children’s Choir, West Virginia State University Jazz Ensemble, Martin Luther King, Jr., Male Chorus and Randall Reid-Smith, commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. In addition, Arley Johnson of Huntington will present a dramatic presentation of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. A reception with light refreshments will follow the program.

On Monday, Jan. 15, an ecumenical service of tribute and remembrance of King will begin at 10 a.m. at Asbury United Methodist Church, 501 Elizabeth St., Charleston. The symbolic march from the church to the north face of the State Capitol for the bell-ringing ceremony will take place just before noon. Participants are invited for cake in the Great Hall of the Cultural Center immediately following the ceremony.

For more information or to find out more about the state’s Martin Luther King Day holiday activities, call the Division at (304) 558-0162 or visit the Commission’s web site at www.wvmlkholidaycommission.org.

The national Martin Luther King Day holiday was designated by the U.S. Congress in 1983. It is observed on the third Monday in January, falling on or near King’s Jan. 15 birthday.

The mission of the Martin Luther King, Jr., West Virginia Holiday Commission is to provide programs celebrating the life and principles of King’s philosophy of non-violence, lengthening his legacy. Strengthened by diversity, the Commission draws together members who strive to create opportunity for growth, leadership and power in order to attain a common vision: peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s web site at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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