Older than the Spoleto Festival USA, the Cooper River Bridge Run and the Southeastern Wildlife Expo, the YWCA Greater Charleston’s annual Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration marks its 46th year in January with the theme “One Man, One Dream … Together We Achieve.”
LaVanda Brown, executive director of YWCA Greater Charleston, said this year’s theme emphasizes the need for everyone to participate in fulfilling Dr. King’s dream of equality.
“Saying ‘together we achieve’ emphasizes that we all have to invest in seeing his dream become real. We recognize that we’ve made some progress as a country and as a community, but there’s still a lot of work to be done,” said Brown.
“The positive is that together, we can accomplish that dream. We can bring it to fruition.”
The annual celebration, first held in January 1972, was one of the first tributes to King in the nation. In all, the celebration’s events are expected to attract 30,000 participants and spectators, making it one of the largest in the Palmetto State.
The celebration will include an ecumenical service at 4 p.m. Jan. 14 at Morris Street Baptist Church and will feature a keynote address by Michael Boulware Moore, president and chief executive officer of the International African American Museum. The YWCA expects about 1,000 people to attend the event.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade will start at 10 a.m. Jan. 15, starting at Burke High School and ending at Gaillard Auditorium.
The MLK Business and Professional Breakfast will cap the tribute at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 16 at the Charleston Gaillard Center.
The breakfast will feature Joan Robinson-Berry, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, as the keynote speaker and Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg as the honorary chairman.
Last year’s breakfast drew more than 600 attendees, including civic, religious and business leaders.
Organizations can sign up to sponsor the MLK Celebration at ywca-charlestonsc.org or by calling 843-722-1644. Individual breakfast tickets will be available for $45 per person in early January.