• 68°

Event-filled MLK Day weekend planned

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

The Black Belt Community Foundation in partnership with the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation have three event-filled days planned for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

The events are designed to promote racial equality and equity through worship services and training.

The program ends with a concert featuring Kishi Bashi and the No-No Boy project.

According to Robert Turner, who serves as BBCF’s program officer and project director, the healing circles and racial equity training are designed to encourage people to look at racial issues through the lens of equity and a different perspective.

“Equity cannot happen without open dialogue,” Turner said. “The purpose of these events is to have an individual leave with the right tools to make a difference.

Sunday, Jan. 15 marks the first day of the citywide events, which will continue through MLK Day on Jan. 16 and into Tuesday Jan. 17.

Tuesday marks the second annual National Day of Racial Healing, a day started by the W.K Kellogg Foundation, a philanthropic organization.

According to the BBCF, the MLK weekend activities are as follows.

Note that some events take place at multiple locations and others overlap on time.

Sunday-Acts II Worship

•4 p.m.- Worship service begins at Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church (1431 Broad St).

Monday-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day/Acts II Service

•9 a.m.- Brief training session and service preparation for workers and volunteers. Volunteers for all events are still needed.

•11:30 a.m.- Lunch will be served at Historic Tabernacle Baptist Church, Historic Brown Chapel AME Church (410 Martin Luther King St.) and House of Prayer Christian Church (215 Selmont Ave.). The Winter giveaway, where donated cold weather items are given to those in need, will take place at this time and these locations as well.

•1:30-5 p.m.- Healing circle at the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation.

The limit for each circle is 15 people.

•5:30 p.m.- Dinner/Racial Equity Training at the SCNTR. Equity training is being provided by Democracy Works, a nonprofit organization.

Tuesday-National Day of Racial Healing/Acts II Fellowship

•120 p.m.- Individuals willmeet at City Hall for prayer over the city and for racial healing.

•4:30-8 p.m.- Healing circle at the SCNTR. The limit for each circle is 15 people.

•7:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m.- NDORH Finale Concert at the SCNTR.

The concert will be linked with other concerts across the nation happening simultaneously, including a nationally-broadcasted concert in New Orleans.

The event is hosted by The Local, a new food co-op project in Selma.

NDORH aims to inspire those who have experienced racism and open up to others to spark productive conversation.

It started as a response to displeased marginalized communities in 2017 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, who awarded a $3 million grant to the Black Belt Community Foundation back in June of 2017.

The goal of NDORH is to promote truth, racial healing and transformation

The Rev. Alvin Herring, who serves as Director of Racial Equity and Community Engagement for W.K. Kellogg, says that NDORH is all about advancing the conversation in the right direction.

“National Day of Racial Healing is about laying the groundwork for moving forward,” Herring said. “It is about giving people an opportunity to heal, which is the most important thing. But healing can only take place when people are willing to tell each other the truth.”

Ainka Jackson, who serves as executive director over the SCNTR, is thrilled to be actively engaging with the community. She believes that the significance of MLK Day is why the Kellogg Foundation chose to make NDORH the day after.

“Kellogg started this because people tend to stay away from talking about racism, but many need racial healing,” Jackson said. “When I think about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I think about what the future looks like with his dream. I believe that is why Kellogg chose to associate National Day of Racial Healing with MLK Day.”

According to Jackson, the Acts II Worship, Acts II Service and Acts II Fellowship days are to continue quarterly throughout the year. The upcoming three-day event will be its introduction into consistent use.

For more information regarding the Black Belt Community Foundation, visit www.blackbeltfound.org.

For more information regarding the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth and Reconciliation, visit selmacenter-fornonviolence.org.

For more information regarding the National Day of Racial Healing or the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, visit www.wkkf.org.

For more information regarding the finale concert, visit the Facebook event page at “NDORH Finale Concert on the River.”