While some aspects of Cedartown’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day activities had to be adjusted because of concerns over COVID-19, local groups made sure his legacy was honored and his message renewed.

Celebrating on Monday, Jan. 18, the MLK Organization of Cedartown partnered with Friendship Baptist Church to hold the 16th Annual MLK Day Walk and program in downtown Cedartown.

However, instead of walking down Main Street, participants were encouraged to decorate their vehicles and join in a parade from Friendship Baptist Church to Polk County Courthouse No. 2.

After the procession, a program in front of the courthouse featured remarks from Rev. Bobby J. Sims, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, and local minister Barbara Glanton, who gave the featured speech.

“In a world where so many things divide us, we must remember that we are one nation, under God, and are striving to be that one nation, under God,” Sims said. “It matters not what the color of your skin is, or what country you were born in. We are all humankind. We are all God-kind.”

Glanton spoke on the theme of this year’s program, “Truth, Love and Justice,” and referenced the state of the nation’s political climate on the eve of the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

“Truth is not simply what is coherent or understandable. A group of people can come together and they can agree to tell the same false story, but it does not make their presentation true. And the evidence of that is what’s going on at the Capitol right here today,” Glanton said.

“We’re witnessing that the truth is not always what people believe to be true. It’s not what makes people feel good. Unfortunately, bad news can be true too.”

Glanton spoke about love of fellow people and of God, as well as the importance to continue the work of King and all those who fought, and continue to fight, for unity and righteousness.

“In order for our progress to continue we have to vote at our local level. If you’re not voting at your local level you’re doing an injustice to your community,” Glanton said. “We must vote for those who stand for righteousness, and not just for people we like. There’s a great need to mentor and teach our young people righteous leadership.”

Another local organization was recognized for their work within the community at a program later that evening at the Cedar Lake Christian Center.

Youth Working Together for a “Speedy” Awareness was awarded the MLK Jr. Community Service Award by the Community Relations Commission of Polk County. YWTSA founder and executive director Pamela Baker-King accepted the award.

YWTSA is a nonprofit organization in Cedartown that has sponsored the Literacy Y.E.S. Reading Program for over 20 years.

The program extends and refines learning using research based strategies through individual pathways that assist youth in becoming fluent readers with emphasis on social and vocational skill development.

In addition, for 20 years YWTSA has participated in MLK, Jr. events and sponsored MLK, Jr. “Youth” Infusion at Friendship Baptist Church.

This year’s Infusion event on Jan. 17 collected over 100 canned food and non-perishable items for Crossroads Bridging the Gap Food Ministry on Gibson Street. A free book fair for children and a coat drive was also a part of this year’s program.

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