The Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus and the Capital High School VIP Choir sing “Total Praise” during the Ecumenical Service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at Asbury United Methodist Church in 2019.

CHARLESTON — The public is invited to join the Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission for the annual commemoration and celebration of the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

This year’s theme is “The Beloved Community: The Fierce Urgency of Now.”

This year’s celebration will take place at Asbury United Methodist Church, 501 Elizabeth St. in Charleston, on Monday, Jan. 20. The Ecumenical Service will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will feature Jennifer Wells, WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition executive director, as the keynote speaker.

The Symbolic March at noon will proceed to the north steps of the state Capitol Complex for a bell-ringing ceremony at 12:30 p.m. The Unity Reception will follow immediately at the West Virginia Culture Center.

Wells is graduate of both Marshall University and West Virginia University. She earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social work. She currently serves as WV Center on Budget and Policy board president, NASW WV Chapter president elect, and WV state chair of CARE (an international humanitarian organization) and Political Action Chair for NAACP WV.

In 2018, Wells was named the Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers WV Chapter.

The Martin Luther King Jr. State Holiday Commission will be awarding the following recipients:

  • The Governor’s Living the Dream Award: Angela Gray
  • Sharing of Self Award: Teresa Brown
  • Scholarship Award: Sho’Monique Hankins
  • Human and Civil rights Award: the Rev. Jeff Biddle Jr.
  • Advocate of Peace Award: the Rev. Clifford Rawls

These events are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs at 304-356-2023.

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