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Dr. Martin Luther King event planned

This year’s Dr.

Saturday, January 06, 2001

This year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration’s candlelit march will mark the tenth one Operation: Be Proud has organized in Ironton.

It’s also the tenth year of OBP’s existence.

"We wanted this to be a special event," said Robert Pleasant Jr., founder and president. "We don’t want to look at the celebration as a memorial service. It’s a celebration of a man who was sent by God to help others."

This year, the Jan. 15 program includes the Ironton singing group Voices of Faith, Boy Scout Troop 106, scripture readings from pastors of several faiths, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and inspirational dance from members of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church and the New Jerusalem Christian Center.

U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland will serve as the keynote speaker. He will speak on the theme of this year’s celebration: "A New Day A New Year And the Dream Lives On."

"This is the first time we’ve invited someone with national prominence, and we’re excited about that," Pleasant said. "One of the reasons for the theme is to highlight the idea that the days and years pass by, but there is still a dream that many Americans still have to achieve."

The festivities will start at 6:30 p.m., with a candlelit march from OUSC.

"The marches during civil rights movements were an important part of the process of change in our society," Pleasant said. "When we march, we want people to reflect on how far we have come in society and where we want to go."

Participants will return to the college at 7 p.m. for the program.

"We don’t want people to look at it as one day in which everyone takes a day off. It’s actually a day on. A day that we can take action, be it in our homes or lifting up the community," Pleasant said. "It’s a day to do something positive for the community. I can’t think of a better way to honor Dr. King than by helping others."