Southern Ill. community leaders honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with events

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 4:45 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:45 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Monday sparks a nationwide Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration.

Some Heartland folks in southern Illinois are celebrating early with several community events throughout the week.

“This year specifically, Martin Luther King the Third spoke out and said, ‘Don’t celebrate my father’s holiday this year.’ He actually wants us to march and raise awareness for voting rights and registration.”

The Southern Illinois Unity Coalition led by community activist Matthew Wilson decided to kick things off on Saturday morning with a caravan-style Love Train.

“So, we will be having different members all the way in Harrisburg, drive to different stations,” Wilson said. “We have a station in Harrisburg, Marion, Carbondale and Murfreesboro. Whatever location you are closest to, you just go there, jump in line and we will make it to Murfreesboro.”

He said it’s a COVID-19-friendly event because it takes place outdoors. And it’s a great way to keep the spirt of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alive.

“You can be in your cars; you don’t even have to get out into the cold to raise awareness for Martin Luther King Day.”

Nancy Maxwell is also a community activist and direct descendant of Coretta Scott King, who said it’s important to have awareness events because the struggle is real.

“We still see a lot of racist events happening here,” she said. “And this is where we reside, and we have to start at home first.”

By educating families, guiding children and reaching out to members of the community.

“We’re riddled with gun violence and that’s just another issue in this community that needs to be quickly resolved,” she continued.

She hopes events like the Love Train along with Monday’s MLK breakfast in Carbondale, and a celebration event in Marion will bring the community together.

“I just hope people will come out. Lots of people came out for the Trump train, I would hope a lot of people come out for MLK train. Because we are all about peace and love.”

Monday, January 17 is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

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