Pine Bluff Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Inc. will present the 34th annual Original Kingfest, which honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., beginning Tuesday, Jan. 9. The 2018 theme is “From Nonviolence to No-Violence” and activities are open to the public.
The Original Kingfest kickoff will be held at noon Tuesday, Jan. 9, at the Pine Bluff Country Club with the Pine Bluff Rotary Club and West Pine Bluff Rotary Club. Ryan Watley, chief executive officer of Go Forward Pine Bluff, will be the presenter at the 10th kickoff with joint Rotary clubs.
At 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14, Pine Bluff's Justice Sunday Exclusive Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Program will be held at First Missionary Baptist Church, 4500 Faucett Road. The keynote speaker will be Fitzgerald Hill, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist College Foundation and The Scott Ford Center for Leadership and Community Development.
Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will be the grand marshal for the 34th Original Kingfest Parade/Marade. The event starts at 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15, on Main Street in Pine Bluff.
Parade/marade participants are asked to line up at the Jefferson County Courthouse at 1 p.m. The route will proceed south on Main Street to Eighth Avenue and east on Eighth to Convention Center Drive entering the Convention Center on the south side of the center.
A short Pen or Pencil Original Kingfest educational program will be presented by youth. The Pine Bluff Police Department will provide lunch/snacks for the youth at the center following the parade/marade.
The Consolidated St. Marion Baptist District Youth Departments will be special guests. Other youth are also invited to participate as Arkansas, for the first time, celebrates the MLK Federal Holiday without any attachment of the Robert E. Lee holiday.
“It was young people who marched the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963 to break the back of segregation and today some 55 years later we have asked youth to march against violence, embracing our theme, From Nonviolence to No-Violence,” said the Rev. Jesse C. Turner, PBICVR executive director and director of Arkansas' Lead (NAFJ) National Alliance of Faith and Justice Pen or Pencil Affiliate.
Awards will be given for the most provocative banner, poster or float using the theme, “From Nonviolence to No-Violence.” Churches, social and civic organizations, youth group, neighborhood watch groups, sororities, fraternities, school bands, businesses, and elected officials are invited to join the parade/marade.
The deadline for parade applications is Thursday, Jan. 11. Applications can be filled out at the PBICVR at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center, 211 W. Third Ave., Suite 109. Also upon request, applications can be obtained by calling Mary Liddell at 870-643-2383, Pelida Norris 870-692-8579 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.