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2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Service

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Atlanta, GA – January 11, 2021 – Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO The King Center, announces a schedule of virtual  programs and events in celebration of the 2021 King Holiday Observance. Beginning Monday, January 11,  2021, and continuing through Monday, January 18, 2021, this year’s schedule includes Nonviolence365®  Training, Beloved Community Global Summit, Beloved Community Teach-In, Beloved Community Awards  (formerly Salute to Greatness Awards) and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Beloved Community Commemorative  Service. The observance commemorates what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 92nd birthday.

“As I consider the inhumanity, injustice and indifference currently persisting in our world, particularly in the  United States of America, I cannot imagine a more relevant and powerful way to commemorate my father’s  birthday than with focus on the urgency of creating the Beloved Community. Now, more than ever, we must turn our attention to fostering reconciliation, which includes truth and repentance, and also turn our attention to  achieving true peace, which includes justice. The Beloved Community encompasses both true peace and  reconciliation.” said King Center CEO, Dr. Bernice A. King. “In the words of my mother, Mrs. Coretta Scott  King, “The Beloved Community is a spiritual bond that claims the energies and commitment of a diverse  group of people who desire to serve a cause larger than themselves.” It is my hope that this year’s King  Holiday Observance experiences will galvanize global citizens for the cause of creating the Beloved  Community.”

This year, the King Holiday Observance activities begin with the two-day Nonviolence365® training on  January 11th and 12th, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM and 6:00 PM-8:00 PM. The training consists of four virtual  sessions about understanding and applying nonviolence today for societal, cultural and personal  transformation. Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence is relevant, powerful and strategic for challenging,  dismantling and changing unjust ideologies, policies, systems and practices. Registration is $39/session or  $129 for the series. You may register at

The King Center’s inaugural two-day Beloved Community Global Summit will be held virtually on January  14th and 15th in collaboration with partners, The Carter Center, The Center for Civil and Human Rights and Points of Light. There is no fee however, we encourage you to register for the Beloved Community  Global Summit at Thursday’s general session is 12:00 PM-6:30 PM. Friday  includes both a general session at 10:00 AM-4:00 PM and a Youth Summit 4:30 PM-6:30 PM. The Beloved Community Global Summit will focus on creating the Beloved Community as defined by Dr. Martin Luther  King, Jr. and expounded upon by The King Center founder, Mrs. Coretta Scott King. Participants will also hear  from national and international speakers who will share their vision and strategies for creating a more just,  humane, equitable and peaceful world.

Dr. Bernice A. King will be joined by founder & executive director of Equal Justice Initiative, Bryan  Stevenson as Keynote Speakers for the Summit. Panelists for the summit include Rev. Dr. William Barber,  II, President & Senior Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach, Co-Chair, Unite the Poor; Bakari Sellers, Author &  CNN Contributor; Nona Jones, Head of Faith-Based Partnerships, Facebook, Inc.; God-is Rivera, Global  Director of Culture and Community; Professor Bonny Ibhawoh, Author and Professor of Global Human  Rights and African Studies at McMaster University; Jill Savitt, President and CEO of the National Center for  Civil and Human Rights; Paige Alexander, CEO, The Carter Center and Greta Lucero-Rios Tellez, Social  Leader and Entrepreneur. The summit will stream live on Facebook, Twitter and 

Following the general sessions, in partnership with Points of Light, there will be a Beloved Community  Youth Global Summit, 4:30 PM-6:30 PM, January 15, for middle and high school students. Students will be  provided an overview of Nonviolence 365®, have an opportunity to hear from a panel of amazing young  activists from throughout the world, and discuss ways that they can help to create the Beloved Community.

The King Center has invited educational institutions and organizations around the globe to join us for our 2021  Beloved Community Teach-In K-12 on Friday, January 15th. The Beloved Community Teach-In educates  students about Dr. and Mrs. King’s legacy and prepares students to champion the completion of their  unfinished work. In keeping with the theme, the 2021 Teach-In will reinforce the knowledge, skills and  dispositions that students need, to not only be positive contributors to creation of the Beloved Community, but  also to succeed in college, careers and civic life. Downloadable lesson plans and other resources for facilitating  Teach-In discussions are available at

In keeping with The King Center’s commitment to creating the Beloved Community, the Center is, after 38 years of hosting the Salute to Greatness Awards, reimagining the program as the Beloved Community  Awards. This reimagining reflects our passionate, purposeful focus on uniting global citizens in the work of  creating the Beloved Community, of which my mother and King Center founder, Coretta Scott King, said,  “The Beloved Community is a realistic vision of an achievable society, one in which problems and conflict  exist, but are resolved peacefully and without bitterness.” The new awards ceremony is virtual and will stream on Twitter, and Facebook on Saturday, January 16th, from 7:00 PM-9:00 PM. We  encourage you to register for this free program at The Beloved Community  Awards recognizes national and international individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in  leadership, pursue – social justice, and are committed to creating the Beloved Community in the tradition of Dr.  Martin Luther King, Jr. The 2021 Beloved Community Awards chair is Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines and the co-hosts for evening will be Julie Chen, Entertainment Anchor and Kevin Frazier, Co-Host  Entertainment Tonight.

The King Center is proud to honor the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) with the Salute to Greatness  Corporate Social Impact Award; Salute to Greatness Humanitarian honoree, Charles F. Feeney businessman  and philanthropist; Civil Leadership honoree, Mayor Michael D. Tubbs, former Mayor of Stockton California and Founder and Chair, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income; Social Justice honorees, Patrisse Cullors, Opal  Tometi, and Alicia Garza, co-founders of Black Lives Matter; Coretta Scott King Soul of the Nation  honoree, Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, National Chair & President of National Council of Negro Women, Inc.; Yolanda D. King Higher Ground honoree, Lady Gaga, artist and co-founder, Born this Way Foundation;  Youth Influencer honoree, Yasmin Poole, National Ambassador, Plan International Australia; Technological  Innovation honoree, Smart City Expo World Congress Fira de Barcelona and Christine King Farris “Legacy of Service in Education” honoree, Ron Clark, founder/teacher of Ron Clark Academy. This year’s entertainment includes recording artists, Marsha Ambrosius, Carl Thomas and Chrisette Michele, cellist  Jenn Cornell, spoken word artist J. Ivy, soloist Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, and cover band Gritz &  Jelly Butter.

The 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Beloved Community Commemorative Service will broadcast live on  Fox 5 and will also stream live on Facebook Watch and, on Atlanta on Monday,  January 18th, 10:30 AM-1:45 PM. The annual Commemorative Service continues to be the hallmark of the  annual King Holiday Observance. Reverend Natosha Reid Rice and Pastor Sam Collier will preside over  the event. The King Center, CEO, Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, will give the Call to Commemoration. This  year’s Keynote Speaker is Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor of the Potter House, Dallas, TX.  This years’ service will feature multi-generational tributes and greetings from individuals representing six of  the seven continents. Greetings will made by United Nation Deputy Secretary General, Amina J. Mohammed and Senior Pastor Ebenezer Baptist Church, Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, Ph.D. Individuals making tributes to  Dr. King include the grandson of Nelson Mandela, Ndaba Mandela, chairman and founder, Mandela Institute  for Humanity; Tamika Mallory, social justice leader, movement strategist; Yasmin Poole, National  Ambassador, Plan International Australia; Rev. Dr. Lee Younghoon, Senior Pastor, Generational  Superintendent, AGK, Yoida Full Gospel Church, Assembly of God of Korea; and Brit Ashley Woods, Independent Curator and Producer. Students from both the USA and around the world will deliver recitations  for creating the Beloved Community, and a special tribute to Mrs. Coretta Scott King.

The global commemorative experience also includes two critical conversations. The first is between Pastor  Jamal Bryant, senior pastor, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor and Jentezen Franklin, senior  pastor, Free Chapel. The second includes Canadian Kehkashan Basu, UN human rights champion, founder &  president, Green Hope Foundation of Canada, and the Honorable Juan Manuel Santos, Nobel laureate and  former president Colombia, South America. The Beloved Community conversations will be moderated by  Nona Jones, head of faith-based partnerships, Facebook, Inc.

The Commemorative Service will also feature musical performances by gospel recording artists Charles  Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago featuring Mr. Talkbox and Le’Andria Johnson; Jekalyn Carr; Tammy  Taylor; Korean Soul; Free Chapel Choir, gospel saxophonist Minister Angella Christie; musical selection  from Rabbi Michah Lapidus, Melvin Kindall and Stephen Simmons; and organist, Dr. Joyce Finch  Johnson. Immediately following the Service, there will be a special gospel concert, featuring Jekalyn Carr,  with an introduction by 16 time Grammy award-winner, Kirk Franklin.

The final activity of The 2021 King Holiday Observance will be a King Family Wreath Laying on the  campus of The King Center, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and King Center Founder, Mrs. Coretta  Scott King. The wreath laying will take place on January 18th at 2:15 PM, immediately after the  Commemorative Service.

“We have before us the opportunity to, as my father said, ‘make of this old world a new world,” said CEO  Bernice A. King. “With urgent emphasis on creating the Beloved Community, we can embrace a collective  commitment to Be Love. Love is not passive, but earnest, active and intentional. It is the foundation of  nonviolence, which we must choose to sustain our existence. Indeed, our choice today, continues to be, in the  words of my father, “nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.” Let’s choose nonviolence.  Nonviolence, which The King Center calls Nonviolence365®, is the pathway to the Beloved Community. I  invite you to join The King Center on that pathway, beginning with King Holiday Observance 2021.”

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