Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – a.k.a. MLK Day. It’s a day to recognize a man who risked his life to see his children live in a nation built on equality. Events celebrating King’s life + legacy are kicking off this weekend.
Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Burton Street Peace Gardens | Photo by @simone_sassy
In 1979, Coretta King (widow of MLK) led the charge in honoring her husband’s memory by petitioning for a national holiday to be created in his name. She testified before a joint hearing of Congress and organized a nationwide lobby to support the King-holiday bill, but the bill was defeated in the House by just five votes.
🎶 Following Coretta’s persistence to approve the national holiday, in 1980 prominent proponent Stevie Wonder released the song “Happy Birthday”– which became a rallying cry. MLK’s actual birthday is Jan. 15.
🎂 The national holiday was officially created when the bill passed in 1983 – 15 years after his assassination.
🗓 It was first observed in 1986, three years after the passing of said bill.
🇺🇸 The last states to sign the bill recognizing MLK Day as a paid holiday did so in 2000.
🕯 The first celebrations, held across the country on Jan. 20, 1986, consisted of marches, candlelight vigils, concerts, readings, church services, + teach-ins.
📅 It’s always on the third Monday of January.
🌱 Since 1994, MLK Day has been observed as a national day of service– spent volunteering, giving back + donating to the community.
DYK: This year marks the 53rd anniversary of King’s assassination.
Want to celebrate here in Asheville? Keep reading for a list of events + service opportunities scheduled for the days ahead.
Day on, not day off According to the CNCS (Corporation for National and Community Service), “MLK Day of Service is intended to empower individuals, strengthen communities, bridge barriers, create solutions to social problems, and move us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a ‘Beloved Community.’”
DYK: The term “Beloved Community” was adopted by Dr. King to describe his vision of a society in which everyone shares equally in wealth and abides by his principles of nonviolent social change.
The Six Steps of Nonviolent Change are gathering, education, personal commitment, discussion+ negotiation, direct action, and reconciliation. Read more about them on theKing Center’s website.
Click the button below to find local ways to honor King throughout the month.
Development ○ Asheville City Councilshould vote on the Enka development project later this month. After community support for the preservation of the Enka clock tower, developers updated their plans to keep the community landmark as part of the development. The developers’ plans also include improving the greenway nearby. 🏗 (WLOS)
Coronavirus ○ Check out the latest COVID-19 statsfor NC from the Department of Health and Human Services here. As of Wednesday afternoon, 11,164 cases and 212 deaths have been reported in Buncombe County. ○ Starting next week, Buncombe County will have the capacity to give out 4,000 COVID-19 vaccines weekly and schedule a minimum of 500 appointments per week. However, county officials are concerned that demand will exceed supply, and urge folks to be patient when trying to book their appointments. Individuals 75+can schedule their appointments by calling (828) 250-5000. NC’s rate of vaccination is up 113% from last week. (WLOS) ○ Henderson County has moved into Phase 1B of vaccine distribution (for people 75 and older). Demand for appointments so far has overwhelmed the county’s call center, and county officials, unsure of how many vaccines they’ll receive next week, are stressing patience when people call in. This week, Henderson County received 1,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Contact the call center at (828) 585-4700.
Arts ○ Tribute Companies, owners of the South Slope mixed-use development The Ironwood, are accepting applications from area artists or teams to install a permanent mural on the five and a half-story parking garage. Proposed projects should honor the diversity of the Southside community. The deadline to apply is this Fri., Jan. 15. 🎨 ○ Been following the news from SoundSpace, the new rehearsal studio now open in the former Rabbit’s Motel (109 McDowell St.)? Check out this interview with co-founder Claude Coleman, Jr., drummer for Ween, about his hopes for creating a landmark destination in Asheville, honoring the history of the neighborhood, and future plans for the property. 🎶 (Smoky Mountain News) ○ Fairview celebrates Robert Burns next Mon., Jan. 18 from 7-9 p.m. with their “Inspired by Robert Burns, Again” event, held a week before the poet’s birthday. The event will feature performances of song and verse from Daniel Shearin of River Whyless, as well as Scotsman Hugh Farrell, chairman of the Friends of Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. 🏴
WaterCooler ○ Asheville City Soccer Clubannounced they intend to play this year after taking a year off due to COVID-19. They’re planning to play at UNC Asheville’s Greenwood Field, as Memorial Stadium won’t be available, and they won’t be holding open tryouts. If you are interested in joining the team, send an email with your info + any footage of play. ⚽️
Community ○ Dining at the YMI| Thurs., Jan. 14-Sun., Jan. 17 | Various Times | YMI Cultural Center, 20-44 Eagle St. | $150 | Learn about the YMI Cultural Center’s role in WNC over dinner + raise money to preserve their efforts. 🍽️
Cause ○Blood Drive| Thurs., Jan. 14 | 11 a.m.-4 p.m. | Biltmore Park Town Square, 1 Town Square Blvd. | Sign Up | Donate blood + save a life. 💉
Find more of this week’s local events in our January PlanAhead.
Disclaimer: It is up to readers’ discretion to determine whether they feel comfortable participating in any mentioned events based on COVID-19 protocols and precautions. If you have questions, please contact the event’s organizers directly.
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In today’s edition of #AVLcurrent, we’re sharing what we’re currently loving. 💖 Editor Ali is loving her cozy wood stove and her fabulous massage therapist, Lee Stanford, who has been saving her life during the third trimester. Editor Brook is loving her trusty slow cooker and is happy to have two big rescue dogs to help keep her and her family warm.
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