An event to help unite the community and bring awareness to the principles Martin Luther King Jr. stood for is being coordinated by the Black International Awareness Club.
“If you don’t remember our history, we are doomed to repeat it,” said John Carbage, president of the Hermiston group. “We don’t even want to back to that time in history.”
The event begins with a Peace Walk Monday, Jan. 15 — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — at 11 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 191 E. Gladys Ave., Hermiston. From there, people will take a short stroll which will end in front of Hermiston City Hall, 180 N.E. Second St. The gathering will include the singing of the national anthem and a short speech, Carbage said.
Then, the group will return to the church for an indoor program that includes words by several local pastors, as well as Rev. Robert Eadie of Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church. In addition, Don Rome, one of the original founders of the Black International Awareness Club, will serve as the keynote speaker. Little Angels, a youth choir, also will perform.
The event, Carbage said, always draws a good crowd. Last year’s walk and program, even with snow-covered roads, attracted more than 100 people, he said. Carbage is especially encouraged when youths attend and participate, saying they are the future of our communities.
A civil rights advocate, King, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, was also a pastor and author. In 1963, the famous “l Have a Dream” speech was delivered by King in front of more than 250,000 people in Washington, D.C. He was assassinated nearly five years later while on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tennessee.
Carbage said the Peace Walk and program is the last being coordinated by the Black International Awareness Club as the group is being abolished — officially changing its name to the Hermiston Cultural Awareness Club. With the new moniker, Carbage said he hopes the club will attract additional participants.
“We want a more broad range of members,” he said. “We want to bring awareness to all cultures in our community.”
Carbage invites everyone to get involved with the Hermiston Cultural Awareness Club. It meets the second Saturday of each month at 2 p.m. at Starbucks, 1235 N. First St., Hermiston. People of all races and cultures are invited to attend.
The group coordinated “Around the World in One Fun Day,” which was held at the close of the 2017 Hermiston Funfest. In its first year, the event highlighted various cultures with performances, food and informational booths. Carbage said the group is looking to expand on last year’s event and hopes more people will get involved.
“I think a lot of change happens with grassroots efforts,” he said.
For more information about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day event, club meetings or how to get involved, call Carbage at 541-701-7073.