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2,000+ Students (Elementary – College) are Being Encouraged and

Challenged to Choose Nonviolence

ATLANTA, GA -Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center today announced plans for the 2014 observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., with a special emphasis on inspiring and educating youth to ‘Choose Nonviolence.’


“We will commemorate the 85th birthday anniversary of my father with an array of exciting and uplifting programs and events to encourage people everywhere to choose nonviolence, particularly young people,” said Ms. King, announcing plans for the 2014 MLK observance. Ms. King said that the “Choose Nonviolence” challenge will permeate The King Center’s multifaceted 10-day program.


More than 1,500 students from greater Atlanta elementary, middle and high schools will converge on the King Center’s campus for an interactive and engaging dialogue between the students and members of the King family from Monday January 13 thru Thursday January 16. Students will explore practical ways to prevent violence, resolve conflicts and make a difference for the better. The dialogues will be moderated by a stellar group of local media anchors and personalities, including: Russ Spencer (Fox5-TV); Jovita Moore and Sophia Choi (WSB-TV); Lorraine Jacques-White (WAOK Radio); Mara Davis (WABE 90.1 Radio); Derrick Boazman (1380 WAOK Radio); Donna Lowry (WXIA-TV); Darian “Big Tigger” (V-103 Radio); Craig Bell (CBS Atlanta) and Ebony Steele (Dish Nation/Rickey Smiley Morning Show), and others.


On Wednesday, January 15, (6-9 pm), The King Center, will convene a discussion entitled From Chaos to Community (A Dialogue on Human Trafficking) at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary. Moderated by Mo Ivory, panelists include:  Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Coppedge; Sheryl DeLuca Johnson, executive director of Street GRACE, an alliance of churches dedicated to the eradication of the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Atlanta; and sex trafficking abolitionist/author Rachel Lloyd; Neal Irvin, Executive Director, Men Can Stop Rape, and others.


There will also be a ‘Choose Nonviolence: Nonviolence or Nonexistence Discussion,’ on Thursday, January 16, at the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy. The featured panelists include SCLC veteran activist Rev. Willie Bolden; financial literacy champion John Hope Bryant; Alayna Eagle Shield of the Standing Rock Reservation; Chicago’s ‘Violence Interrupter’ Ameena Matthews and others.  


The King Center, in partnership with Kaplan University, will engage another 300+ college students and the general public from throughout metro Atlanta on the implications of nonviolence on their campuses and in their communities at the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, on the campus of Morehouse College, on Friday, January 17. Panelists include Malika Redmond, executive director of SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW; Dr. Kendra King Momon, Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Rich Foundation Urban Leadership Program, Oglethorpe University; Doris Crenshaw, founder of the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute, and others. Following the discussion, students will be encouraged to commit to developing campus work groups to address one form of violence on their campus and to address it through nonviolence. Kaplan University is recording the session that will be posted on their website and The King Center’s site so that student teams from throughout the country and the world may accept the challenge of addressing a form of violence on their campus and share their experiences through social media.


The 10-day birthday commemoration features more than 20 programs, beginning Friday, January 10, 2014 and continuing through January 20th, the MLK holiday. Other King Center 2014 MLK observance programs will include:


·         2014 King Holiday Observance Choose Nonviolence: Kick-off and Reception – Friday January 10th (5:30-7:30 pm) – This opening event of the 2014 MLK Observance programs will bring together diverse people and leaders from the local, national and international communities – and launch the “Choose Nonviolence” campaign.  


·         Celebrating the Legacy of Yolanda D. King through the Arts  – Saturday, January 11th (11:00 am to 6 pm) at the King Center’s Freedom Hall Auditorium. Includes free screenings of three films followed by conversations with the audiences: The Loving Story; The Trials of Muhammad Ali; and Girl Rising.


·         Dr. King: An Intimate Conversation and Book Signing – Sunday, January 12th (2 to 5 pm) at The King Center’s Freedom Hall Auditorium. Dr. Christine King Farris, King Center CEO Bernice A. King and Dr. Angela Farris Watkins will autograph books written by King family members.


·         Launch of Choose Nonviolence: 100 Days of Nonviolence Campaign – Wednesday, January 15th. An inter-active on-line and social media dialogue to help mobilize young people against violence and embrace nonviolence as a way of life.  


·         The Annual Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner – January 18th (6 pm Reception, 7 pm Dinner) at the Hyatt-Regency Downtown Atlanta. Honoring Muhammad Ali, Xerox Inc., Pakistani anti-violence advocate Khalida Brohi and One Billion Rising and award-winning playwright Eve Ensler. Emcees Malcolm Jamal Warner and Dawnn Lewis will preside, with Dinner Chair Lisa Borders, chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation and co-chairs Laura Turner Seydel, chairperson of the Captain Planet Foundation and environmentalist attorney Rutherford Seydel.


·         The MLK Jr. Annual Commemorative Service – January 20 at Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary (10 am). With keynote speaker Rev. Raphael Warnock, Sr. pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church and a host of local and national leaders. Ministry through music includes the electrifying violinist Ken Ford.


·         Ringing of Bells for Peace – The King Center and consulates representing the nations of the world will help lead the “Choose Nonviolence: Let Freedom Ring” global bell-ringing events by ringing bells at the conclusion of the Commemorative Service “to symbolically herald a new age of nonviolence.”


The King Center is also supporting a broad range of more than two dozen other MLK commemorative programs in partnership with diverse organizations.


The King Center’s annual MLK observance will set the stage for a momentous year for Dr. King’s legacy, including the 50th anniversary of two major historical milestones --- the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize to Dr. King. 


Ms. King said that the theme for the 2014 King holiday observance, “Remember! Celebrate! Act! King's Legacy of Peace for Our World,” underscores the urgency of Dr. King’s challenge to people of every nation to “choose nonviolence as a way of life, as well as a method for peaceful social change. People all over the world are crying out for an end to the senseless violence that afflicts their families, communities, nations and world. Our hope is that The 2014 MLK holiday observance will help lay the foundation for a world-wide movement to begin building the beloved community of my father’s dream.”  


All King Center events, except for the Annual Salute to Greatness Dinner, are free of charge. For more detailed information about the MLK birthday observance program, see the attached full program schedule.




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