Southwest Virginia communities continue to honor MLK Day with virtual events, modified days of service


(WFXR) — Monday marks Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day to remember and honor the civil rights leader’s legacy, as well as encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.

However, this year’s celebration will look different than in years past. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and extra security in Washington, D.C. ahead of the Inauguration, celebrations around the country are either canceled or taking place online.

For example, Radford University will hold its eighth annual MLK Day of Service by giving back to the New River Valley and Roanoke areas. However, for this year’s day of service, instead of volunteering in-person amid the pandemic, the university will be giving back through donations of money, food, and supplies.

Meanwhile, Washington and Lee University will hold an extended celebration of MLK’s life and legacy with a week of virtual lectures and events starting on Monday, Jan. 18. These lectures are free and available for the public to view online.

Virginia Western Community College is also launching its MLK Day of Service with virtual seminars and events open to the public. The day will also include several lectures and keynote speakers.

Outside of the world of academia, downtown Lexington is set to hold the fifth annual CARE Rockbridge MLK Community Celebration in a family-friendly and coronavirus-conscious event starting at 10:30 a.m. on Monday.

According to the Facebook event description, “community members will find and maintain a distanced space to demonstrate public commitment to an equal and inclusive community. Distancing is not only for safety. It is also our attempt to symbolically occupy community space and hold up all the lives, especially black and brown, lost to Covid and racist violence this year.”

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