Bay groups plan MLK parade
By Cassandra Favre
Jan 10, 2014, 17:42
It has been more than 20 years since the dedication of the Martin Luther King, Jr. park on Washington Street in Bay St. Louis and local community leaders said it's time to "bring back the celebration."
The Operation Wake Up Men of God ministry and Retrofit community group have teamed up to host the first Martin Luther King, Jr. parade and celebration on Jan. 20 at MLK park in Bay St. Louis.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American civil rights leader, known for his non-violent role in the civil rights movement and his campaigns for racial equality in the United States.
King was assassinated in 1968.
Operation Wake Up Men of God ministry is dedicated to serving the community, members said on Wednesday.
"We seek to serve," Art Clementine said. "Our motto is to encourage others to follow Men of God as we follow Christ in our daily walk, our study of scriptures and our service to God, families, church, community and our fellow man.
"We work with the Boys and Girls Club and also serve at church and funeral activities."
Retrofit's Sandra Price said that her group was formed after Hurricane Katrina.
"We had lots of volunteers come down here to help," Price said. "We were so grateful for the outside help, and then we decided that in our own community we wanted to help each other.
"We serve the community wherever we see a need, mostly with the children and elderly. We help with back to school supplies, visit nursing homes and set up and serve at weddings and funerals."
The parade's scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at Valena C Jones United Methodist Church at 248 Sycamore St. and end at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in the 400 block of Washington St.
"Following the parade, we will have a celebration at the MLK park," Price said. "There will be local guests, keynote speakers, musical performances and proclamations issued.
"Refreshments will be served. The whole celebration should end about 3 p.m."
Price said other organizations such as Krewe of Diamonds, NAACP, members of the Pearlington community and local area churches are participating in the event.
"It's Retrofit's dream to enlighten the children with the facts about Martin Luther King," Price said. "It warms my heart to be able to to continue to 'live the dream'."
"Sunday night, Jan. 19," Men of God's Danin Benoit said on Thursday, "there will be an opening ceremony with fireworks at the MLK park, sponsored by PowerHouse of Deliverance Ministries, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
"This celebration is a way of bringing our community of organizations and churches together, to work together bridging the gap with unity."
"We want to do this," Men of God's Charles Johnson said. "It's time to bring it back.
"This year's theme will be 'unity'".
A planning meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at the Bay St. Louis Library.
If you are interested in participating in the parade or making a donation, contact Charles Johnson at 228-342-6815 or Tequila Hall at 228-342-0883.