Lafayette will lead Acadiana communities in celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. following the theme this year of “Living the Dream: Uplifting Ourselves through Faith.”
Parades, pageant and programs are on tap across the region.
“As we reflect on where we go, we knew faith would be the driving force,” said state Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, chairman of the Dr. Martin Luther King Holiday Committee of Lafayette.
The committee, which is entering its 32nd year, wants to continue its focus on the importance of obtaining a sound education as a key to success and living the dream King envisioned, Boudreaux said.
He said committee members want to send "a strong message that education will get us there, nothing else."
The committee is also stressing the need to stay abreast of issues and to be part of the solution.
“We want to encourage our community to stay engaged – more now so than ever before,” he said.
The Hub City's three-day Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events include a Musical Extravaganza at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by a youth pageant at 4 p.m. Both programs will be held at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center.
At 3 p.m. Sunday, the King Holiday Parade will commence with musical director Mathilda Martin serving as parade marshal. In honoring Martin, Boudreaux noted that they are also paying tribute to the role music has played in the lives of those who struggled, dating back to slavery and the Underground Railroad.
On Monday, an 8:30 a.m. flag-raising ceremony kicks off a day of activities at the Martin Luther King Center. Following an 8:45 a.m. opening ceremonies and a prayer breakfast, there will be education and cultural activities for youth and adults from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. During those hours there also will be health screenings, and opportunities to visit participating booths and exhibitions.
During the Sponsors Recognition/Community Luncheon, slated for 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., former educator Ernest Nabors will be honored for his contributions to the community. Also during the luncheon, Lafayette Superintendent Don Aguillard will discuss the status of the school system, focusing on Districts 3 and 4.
The highlight of the event will be the Evening Commemorative Program, featuring Dr. Logan C. Hampton, who is president of Lane College in Jackson, Tenn.
“There Is But One Race, and That Is the Human Race” is Eunice’s theme for festivities honoring Dr. King. The two-day celebration kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday with a prayer breakfast at the Dr. J.G. Frank Family Life Center.
At 2 p.m. Sunday, a parade will be held with Johnny Reed serving as parade marshal, followed by a 3 p.m. program at the Center. Several individuals will be honored during the program, including attorney I. Jack Burson who will receive the MLK Recipient Award, and Mathilda Johnwell, who will receive the Humanitarian Award. Organizers are asking persons to “paint the town red” by wearing red to symbolize love.
Loreauville will celebrate King’s legacy, beginning with a 10 a.m. march on Monday from Loreauville Park to Our Lady of Victory Church. A program includes a gospel play, “Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” by Karen Mathew. Also featured will be singing, dancing and speeches.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration in New Iberia is slated for 1 p.m. Monday at the West End Park Recreation Center. The program’s theme is “Legacy of the Dream.” Refreshments will be served.
Lineup for the annual Dr. King parade begins at 11 a.m. Monday at South City Park. The parade will travel to Holy Ghost Catholic Church where a program follows at 2 p.m. The parade is open to schools, royalty, civic groups, cars and trucks. However, no horses are allowed.
“A Legacy of Hope” is the theme when Rayne celebrates festivities, starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday with a march from the Depot Square to the Rayne Civic Center. According to coordinator Hilda Wiltz, a program follows at 11 a.m. Festivities include a guest speaker, award presentations, entertainment, a health and wellness fair, along with blood pressure screenings, and food and refreshments. The event is sponsored by the National Association of University Women’s Rayne Branch.