By Jason A. Smith
McDONOUGH — Downtown McDonough will celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with its annual parade Monday at 10 a.m.
Lasonji Rivers, second vice president of Henry NAACP, is helping coordinate the parade. She said more than 1,000 people are expected to participate in the event.
“I think it’s important that we continue to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King,” she said.
Allan Vigil Ford is sponsoring the parade for the seventh straight year. Local musicians Da Famous Boyzz will serve as the grand marshals for the parade.
“We are focusing on our youth,” said Rivers.
Participants will assemble at 9 a.m. at the Henry County Performing Arts Center on Lemon Street and he parade route will travel up John Frank Ward Boulevard, around the Square, down Keys Ferry Street and back to Henry County High School.
More than 30 groups are registered to take part in the event. They include sororities, fraternities, city, county officials and representatives from Henry County Schools.
Festivities will continue after the parade with a program at the Performing Arts Center honoring King at 11:30 p.m. The theme of the program is “Get On Board, We’re Moving Forward Through the Struggle.”
The program will feature students from Henry County High School and Fairview Elementary School. Da Famous Boyzz are also slated to perform, said Rivers.
McDonough District 2 Councilwoman Sandra Vincent will be the keynote speaker for the program. She said it is important to honor Dr. King not only because of what he accomplished in the civil-rights arena but for all of humanity.
“Even though Dr. King was a civil rights leader, he also unified America,” said Vincent. “What he lived for and what he stood for were things that affect us all. His life and his work reconciled us with the fact that we are all human.”
Vincent said the King holiday is a time to “test the pulse of the nation” so that society can move forward.
“If we truly believe what Dr. King taught, then we all should participate in that recognition,” she said. “The kingdom of God is not one color. It’s not just one race of people. So I think we really need to embrace the truth of unity and show it by participating in things like the MLK celebration.”
For more information, call McDonough City Hall at 770-957-3915.