Editorial: Plan to be part of Monday's MLK celebration activities
It’s simply terrific to know that Sevier County will have its eighth annual Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration on Monday. It caps a week of activities ranging from special story times at the libraries to a Wednesday evening program at Boyds Creek Church of God.
Each year the event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day draws hundreds to downtown Sevierville. It is a county celebration featuring a diverse group of participants and many elected officials. Perhaps most heartening, a number of children participate either in person or through a poster contest conducted in several schools.
Under the leadership of Judge Dwight Stokes, Jamesena Miller, Alverrene Bridgeforth, Carroll McMahan and Robin Cogdill, the local MLK planning committee has put together another outstanding program, both for Monday and during the week just ended. Monday’s events, as usual, will include a 10:30 a.m. walk from First Baptist Church to the courthouse and back, and the program inside the church featuring as speaker Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade of Sevierville.
Surely this is what the Rev. Dr. King had in mind when he preached tolerance, inclusion and equality. Sevier County has always had a low percentage of black residents. Many counties with similar demographics simply ignore a community observance of King’s legacy. And for many years so did Sevier County.
Not any more. It’s important that all of us, especially young people, remember Dr. King — his work, his philosophy, his contributions to society, his powerful words and eloquence. It’s not enough that schools and federal offices be closed. More recognition is needed and, in Sevier County, more is available.
Here’s hoping many people will participate in the Sevier County observance on Monday. Keep hope alive by being part of it.