MARTIN LUTHER JR. DAY
A parade, rally and awards are part of the holiday festivities around town
Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations in Honolulu kick off tonight with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People awards gala and culminate Monday with the signature holiday parade through Waikiki and rally at Kapiolani Park.
Longtime champion of civil rights Jewel McDonald will receive the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously at the NAACP 14th Annual Awards Gala at Dole Cannery. The theme is “Celebrating Our Legacy, Honoring Our Commitment, Forging
McDonald, who died Nov. 28 at the age of 70, not only helped revive the NAACP in Honolulu, but helped to lobby the Legislature for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, working with city and state leaders to see fruition in January
1989, when Gov. John Waihee proclaimed the state holiday.
As a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition-Hawaii, she coordinated entertainment and programs for the MLK rally and was named grand marshal of the parade more than once.
Other NAACP award recipients are Community Award winner ShaDonna “Mo” McPhaul, president/CEO of Mo’s Heroes, who has worked to reintegrate homeless veterans into meaningful employment. Community Partnership Award winner Desert of Hawaii Nobles and Daughters will be recognized for dedicated volunteer service totaling over 2,000 hours annually, partnering with the NAACP to register voters, in mentorship programs, and for outstanding leadership. The Outstanding Youth Citizenship Award winner is Betty Banks of Radford High School.
Religious Leadership Award winner the Rev. James Williams, founder of Life More Abundantly Island Church in Wahiawa, will be recognized at the MLK Gospel Service at 3 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, where he will be keynote speaker.
Meanwhile, the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition-Hawaii has chosen the theme “Thank You for Your Service” this year, capturing the essence of all the Nobel Peace Prize winner stood for: combating racial inequality through nonviolence from the mid-1950s until his death by assassination in 1968.
The annual bell ringing ceremony begins at 4:45 p.m. Sunday at Parke Chapel on the grounds of the Cathedral of St. Andrew, one of more than 300 bell ringing ceremonies scheduled across the nation.
About 8,000 people are expected to watch the parade at 9 a.m. Monday as it proceeds from Magic Island to Ala Moana Boulevard and down Kalakaua Avenue, ending at Kapiolani Park. The public should go early, as police will begin to close streets at 8:30 a.m.; side streets in Waikiki will be closed once the parade begins.
Unity Rally festivities follow the parade, starting at about 11 a.m. at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand, with plenty of soul food and entertainment until 4 p.m.
For more information on coalition events, contact organizer Marsha Rose Joyner at mrjoy@ hawaii.rr.com or 741-4612.