BINGHAMTON, NY – At a time when issues surrounding racial injustice are still at the forefront, organizers of the annual Martin Luther King Day march and church service are being forced to hold their event virtually this year.
Typically, residents gather each holiday at the Martin Luther King, Junior Promenade in downtown Binghamton during the evening and then march to a church on the city’s westside for a program of speakers and singing.
This year, the entire event will be held on Zoom.
The keynote speaker will be Doctor Lewis Walter Stewart from Rochester with the theme “The Fierce Urgency of Building the Beloved Community.”
Reverend Arthur Jones, Junior is the Chairman of the Broome County Martin Luther King Junior Commission.
He says challenging times call for a return to our spiritual roots.
“Dr. King was a preacher. Not only a civil rights leader, he was a preacher at heart who took it to the streets, beyond the 4 walls. And I think that there still is power, churches and religious communities still have the power to create change and make our world a better place,” says Jones Jr.
The online event will showcase singing, dancing and some messages from local politicians.
Reverend Jones’s wife Delores says the anger over injustice makes it difficult for some to adhere to Doctor King’s principle of non-violence.
“It is imperative that we come together as a human race. And not focus on our differences but focus on the things that make us all part of the human race, all the things that matter. Loving one another, Supporting one another, education for everybody, clean housing, safe housing,” says Delores.
Delores encourages folks to register ahead of time for the Zoom event by going to a special Eventbrite RSVP page.
She says people who are unfamiliar with Zoom technology should seek help from family members in getting logged in.