Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most Martin Luther King Jr. Day events have been cancelled. Here are the events still happening in your community.
Dr. King Day: A Virtual Celebration to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — Hosted by Cameron Enterprises and Beloved Communities Inc., this digital event, hosted on Zoom, will run from 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Monday, Jan. 18. Click here to register.
Stetson University virtual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration — This virtual event, open to the community, will take place 6:30 p.m., Wednesday Jan. 20. Click here to register.
Lake Helen United Methodist Church — Lake Helen United Methodist Church is hosting a drive-thru service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the theme “Hope through unity.” The service will begin at 11 a.m., Monday, Jan. 18 at 111 W. Delaware Ave. in Lake Helen.
Sharon Stafford lives in Orange City and organizes the Orange City African American Heritage Festival there. She also serves as chair of the Volusia Remembers Coalition, an organization focused on documenting lynchings that occurred in Volusia County, and remembering the victims.
The African American Heritage Festival, typically in February, is on hold because of COVID-19. Stafford said she hopes to host the festival later in 2021, as the pandemic gets under control and Orange City begins issuing event permits again.
Stafford said the annual festival represents an important “unity in our community.”
“We’ve all gone through so much in 2020, with this COVID-19, and I was really hoping to have a festival,” she said. “As long as I have breath to put that festival together, I’m going to put it together.”
As for the Volusia Remembers Coalition, she said the organization hopes to host a ceremony for Lee Snell, a Daytona Beach man who was lynched April 29, 1939, on the old Daytona highway in Daytona Beach.
For Stafford, 2020 was a year that did not bring as much meaningful change as she had hoped for on a local level. She said she hopes that, in 2021, people will continue to strive toward change in their community and fairness for people of all races.
“It seems like, as a Black person, everything we get, we have to fight for it,” Stafford said. “I’ve been fighting this battle all my life.”