By John Filonow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church will host a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. day Monday.
People can meet at the Stillwater Public Library at 6:15 p.m. and march to the church at 6:30 p.m., said Karen Washington, the committee team leader for the event. Worship services begin at 7 p.m.
Dr. Kent J. Smith, president of Langston University, will be the speaker, said Washington, and two choirs are expected to perform at the church.
Washington said the event will celebrate King’s legacy by representing how King stood for the community.
“It’s not limited to just the church, it’s really a communitywide event in our minds,” Washington said.
More than 200 people attended last year, representing approximately 23 churches, she said. She said she expects a similar turnout this year, though her goal is to have standing room only.
William Carter of Stillwater is a member of the Oklahoma City Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He said King had a legacy of fighting against racism and violence.
“That’s why people feared him, because of his knowledge and wisdom, but (he) was against violence,” Carter said.
Carter said he plans to get up early Monday and celebrate in Oklahoma City.
Washington said she sees the holiday as a day on, not a day off. She said she takes time to stop and reflect.
“Have I done everything I could do to make our community a better place to be?” Washington said. “Have I carried myself in a way people would want to mirror?”
A lot has changed since King was alive in the 1960s, Carter said, but the struggle for racial justice continues.
“We still have that today, we still have race issues and hatred,” Carter said.
Washington said King stood for love and peace, and she would like to see his death not be in vain.
“We’re not where we can say he (did) it back then, he’s taken care of it, it’s still a constant struggle,” Washington said.