Chattanooga-area MLK Day events include son of woman killed in Mother Emmanuel AME Church shooting

Chattanooga-area MLK Day events include son of woman killed in Mother Emmanuel AME Church shooting
Written by Publishing Team

Not just a federal holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national day of service, as designated by Congress in 1994 with the passage of the King Holiday and Service Act.

Here are some of the ways that residents of the Chattanooga area commemorate the life and legacy of the civil rights leader.

[READ MORE: Research looks for why Black residents are leaving Chattanooga]

– Chattanooga State Community College, as part of the Bond Arts and Culture series, will present a virtual event from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday. “It Starts With Me: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice” will be moderated by Quincy Jenkins, Executive Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Guest panelists include Barbara Scales, Executive Director of Compliance, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Motlow State Community College, and LaNeeca Williams, Head of Diversity and Title IX Coordinator at Austin Peay State University. The free program can be accessed via Zoom with the identification number 833 2721 5619 and the access code 103001. Any questions? Call 423-697-2409.

– CHI Memorial will air a “Peace, Love & Unity” service at 4 p.m. Monday on The guest speaker is Mary Lambert, Director of Community Health and Public Safety for the City of Chattanooga. Charles Collins II, retired music teacher for Hamilton County Schools and the Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, will provide music. This is the 29th year of commemoration. This year’s theme is health equity.

Staff File Photo by Robin Rudd / Mary Lambert, Director of Community Health and Public Safety for the City of Chattanooga, will be the guest speaker for CHI Memorial’s “Peace, Love & Unity” virtual service in honor by Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday.

– Cleveland State Community College is planning an annual “I have a dream” weekend. At 4 p.m. Sunday, donations of gloves, hats and canned goods for The Caring Place will be collected at Broad Street United Methodist Church, 155 Central Ave. NW. During this time, a community choir will sing celebratory songs at the church. Anyone wishing to participate must join the 2:30 p.m. choir rehearsal on Saturday. All ages are welcome. At 9 a.m. on Monday, there will be a downtown memorial march, starting at the Bradley County Courthouse, 155 Ocoee St. Questions? Call 423-473-2397.

– College of the Pact will mark the day with several events on Monday. Service projects at the Bethlehem Center are scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon. At 2 pm, Carl Ellis Jr., senior fellow of the African American Leadership Initiative and senior professor of theology and culture at Reformed Theological Seminary, will host an academic lecture on “A Beloved Community”. Ellis, who met and walked with Martin Luther King Jr., will share the biblical perspective of King’s vision of a beloved community. His talk will be followed at 3:00 pm by a panel discussion at Sanderson Hall, room 215. The day will end with a gospel concert with musicians from New City Music and Covenant College at 6:00 pm. Questions ? Call 706-820-1560.

– Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, will host a series of weeklong events. Registration is free for all events, but places are limited. Register on

Memorial week begins with the MLK Jr. Unity March in downtown Cleveland, starting at 8:45 a.m. Monday from Lee’s School of Business on Church Street. At 6 p.m. on Monday, Professors Mary McCampbell and Ruthie Wienk will present “Music of the Civil Rights Era” in the Johnson Lecture Hall of the Humanities Center on Parker Street.

Chris Singleton, a former professional baseball player who is now on tour with a message of unity, forgiveness and resilience, will speak in Chapel at 10:40 a.m. Tuesday at Conn Center. Singleton’s mother was killed in the Mother Emanuel AME Church tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. Singleton will be available for a question-and-answer session at 2:45 p.m. at the Humanities Center, room 108, and for a time of reflection at 7:00 p.m. at the School of Religion, room 113.

On Wednesday, students, staff, faculty and community authors will gather for noon book signings in the Great Hall of the Lee Science and Math Complex.

On January 20 at 6 pm, the film “Honoring a Civil Rights Leader: Cruz Reynoso” will be screened in the Doris Johnson screening room of the Communication Arts Building. Reynoso was the first Latin American judge of the Supreme Court of California. The screening will be hosted by the late jurist’s son, Rondall Reynoso, an art teacher at Lee.

Events end at 7:30 p.m. on January 21 at the Conn Center with “One Body Service”, a time of worship hosted by the Mosaic Council.

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Cherry blossoms begin to bloom at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in March 2021 in Washington, DC / AP Photo / Patrick Semansky

– Southern Adventist University focuses its efforts on MLK service projects, which span an entire weekend. The goal is for at least 1,200 volunteers to participate in more than 70 projects with more than 30 organizations over four days, from Friday to Monday. At the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition, volunteers will prepare “blessing bags” containing toiletries and snacks. In other locations, their duties may include cleaning, painting, visiting the elderly, or serving meals.

Chattanooga Unit GroupThe Martin Luther King Week celebration continues through Monday. The topics of the virtual programs are “Making our communities decent and safe places to live” at 7 p.m. Thursday, “Riots are the voices of the hearing-impaired” at 7 p.m. Friday, “Continuing the movement for community control” at 7 p.m. Saturday and “COVID -19 is not dead” at 1 p.m. Sunday. On Monday, there will be a beloved community gathering at 1 p.m. at Miller Park, 850 Market St. This year’s parade has been canceled. Visit for registration links.

– University of Tennessee at ChattanoogaThe Multicultural Affairs Office is co-sponsoring an MLK Memorial Scholarship Virtual Breakfast with the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at 10:30 a.m. Monday. The Zoom program is open to the public. The theme is “Equity, Diversity and Opportunity: If not now, when? The Office of Multicultural Affairs is also working with the City of Chattanooga’s Department of Equity and Community Engagement and several other agencies on a fundraising campaign.

– Compiled by Lisa Denton


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