Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on Jan. 21 this year, but in Centre County, remembrance ceremonies for the civil rights activist and celebrations of his life start earlier.
For one annual event, the community’s interest in recognizing King’s legacy has led to a need for a larger venue.
The Forum on Black Affairs at Penn State is hosting the 44th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Banquet on Tuesday at the Bryce Jordan Center, a date that also coincides with King’s birthday.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event will officially begin at 6 p.m. The theme for this year’s banquet is “Where Do We Go From Here: Tradition of Resistance.”
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FOBA said in a press release that they are “excited to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and recognize members of the community who make a difference through his belief of advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience.”
The program will feature performances and the recognition of the recipient of the 2019 FOBA Humanitarian Award.
Willie West, chairman of the outreach and marketing committee for the event, said that their previous venue, Presidents Hall at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, just wasn’t up to par for what they needed.
In the past, West said tickets for the event have sold out within hours of being available, so the new venue is expected to bring in more people than ever before.
“The interest has always been there,” West said. “We’re just trying to provide a venue that will allow for more inclusion.”
State College Borough will be holding a birthday commemoration event on Tuesday at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza on Fraser Street from 6 to 8 p.m., and, following a moment of remembrance, will be moved to Federal Taphouse across the street for hot chocolate.
Penn State also has a whole week of events starting on Jan. 21 across campus and in downtown State College to celebrate the legacy of King.
While students do not have classes on Jan. 21, A Day of Service will be held first at Alumni Hall in the HUB-Robeson Center and then to various locations throughout the area to serve the community. Potential participants can sign up to help at www.volunteer.psu.edu.
Jan. 25 will see the annual Evening Celebration sponsored and run by the 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Student Committee from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Schwab Auditorium, featuring various speakers and performances.
For a full of Penn State’s events, visit news.psu.edu/story/553729/2019/01/10/campus-life/university-park-events-honor-celebrate-martin-luther-king-jrs.