In light of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a local church kicked off the holiday with a celebration to honor the civil rights movement icon.
The MLK Committe of El Paso hosted the 2019 Annual MLK City Wide celebration on Sunday to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King Jr. in a special worship service at the Holy Light Church of God In Christ.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.”
The service invited guest speaker Superintendent Gabriel Hatcher, Senior Pastor of the Miracle Temple of Deliverance in Lousiville, Kentucky.
Organizers told KTSM this annual celebration has been going on for more than 40 years, but says this year was especially unique to the community.
“In light of all that’s going on in the country, I believe this is the season and a time there really needs to be a coming together,” Bishop Howard Johnson said. “There really needs to be a unification of all people no matter their religious preferences or their political stance or whatever, all of us coming together.”
Johnson has served as the MLK Committee president for the last five years.
Hatcher said he was born in Montgomery, Alabama and experienced the march Dr. King was part of from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.
“It’s some history that I was a part of,” Hatcher said.
Long-time church member JoAnn Crawford said she moved to El Paso from Birmingham, Alabama. Crawford says this celebration is important to members in the El Paso community who come from different backgrounds.
“Yes I’m Black but he was concerned for all the individuals that didn’t have the same opportunities that he had or those individuals where injustice was done,” Crawford said. “This is a great thing to keep his dream and hope alive.”
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday so you can expect some service closures on Monday across the city. Those include:
- City administrative offices including City Hall
- Local school districts
- EPCC and NMSU