MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — The 42nd Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Salute kicked off at the Monroe Civic Center.
Due to Covid restrictions, limited seating was available inside the Jack Howard Theatre. However, people joined the celebration through Facebook Live.
The theme for this year’s salute is “One People, One Community, One-Roe”. The MLK Celebration Committee said it was important for the Twin Cities to unite as one, and for a community centered mindset to be the goal of all residents of Monroe.
The guest speaker for this year’s celebration was Dr. Valarie Fields, Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. During the ceremony, Lift Every Voice & Sing, often referred to as the Black National Anthem was performed by Tammy Hopkins.
Numerous humanitarian honors were awarded to standout residents and servants of the Monroe community, including the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Trailblazer Award.
Among the public servants present was Mayor Friday Ellis. Throughout the event, he emphasized the importance of keeping MLK’s legacy alive. He also encouraged those in attendance to lend a helping hand to their neighbors and those in need.
Mayor Elis says the goal for this year’s event is to “honor those who are keeping up his dream of a united country and the awardees today were prime examples of that. People who are servant leaders in their community doing great things and carrying out his dream…”
Towards the end of the ceremony, Mayor Ellis was brought to tears because of the display of unity and solidarity by speakers and award recipients. Ellis thanked the people of Monroe for letting him serve them. He also talked about his hopes for the future of Monroe.