The 21st annual Loudoun Martin Luther King Jr. March and Celebration kicks off this morning in downtown Leesburg.
The schedule for the Martin Luther King Jr. March and Celebration is as follows:
8 a.m.: Food drive at Douglass Community Center
10 a.m.: Marchers assemble at the Old Loudoun Courthouse
10:30 a.m.: March begins – Courthouse to Douglass Community Center
11 a.m.: Refreshments and visiting at Douglass Community Center
Noon: Program with the theme “Moving forward with the Dream for All”
1:30 p.m.: Conclusion of program and clean up by participants
The Loudoun Martin Luther King Jr. celebration is one of the largest and longest running observances in the region. Noteworthy in Loudoun history, Douglass High School was, until 1968, the last segregated African-American high school in the area.
The keynote speaker for the noon program will be Deborah Parker, founder of the DPJ Training Group. Parker has provided world-class learning programs for a variety of government, private and non-profit clients during the past 15 years. She has served as an officer in the Army Reserve, been a corporate manager, entrepreneur and author. She has published three inspirational books, including a motivational memoir Navigating Life’s Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey.
Several Loudoun County high schools will take part in various aspects of the day's celebrations.
The Heritage High School band will lead the march as it does every year. Dominion High School's Step Team, as well as two soloists from Tuscarora High School, will perform in the afternoon programs. The Tuscarora High School Jazz Band and Dance Team will also take part in the march.
Those attending the Martin Luther King Jr. Loudoun celebration are encouraged to bring nonperishable canned goods to participate in a food drive to benefit Loudoun Interfaith Relief. This local charity has a special need for nonperishable meat products. Drop-off areas for the food drive will be at Douglass Community Center from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A blood drive will be at the Douglass Community Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Religious and civic organizations and members of the surrounding community are asked to join together or pair up with another organization and display their banners and walk together during the march. For those who are unable to join the march, there will be special MLK activities and entertainment at the Douglass Community Center from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.