Several family members of slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will join the District’s peace walk on Jan. 17, the federal holiday commemorating King, to encourage the U.S. Senate and the Biden administration to focus on passing voting rights legislation.
Martin Luther King III and his wife, Arndrea Waters King and their daughter, Yolanda Renee King, will join thousands of District residents on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Southeast to call on the Senate to pass The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021, the Freedom to Vote Act of 2021 and The Washington, D.C. Admission Act of 2021.
The King family and the peace walkers will echo King’s call “to give us the ballot.”
“President Biden and Congress used their political muscle to deliver a vital infrastructure deal and now we are calling on them to do the same to restore the very voting rights protections my father and countless other civil rights leaders bled to secure,” said King III, chairman of The Drum Major Institute.
“Like those who crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday, we will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father’s dream for a more equal and just America,” he said.
The King family will march under the District’s King Holiday committee’s theme: Changing Happens with Good Hope and a Dream.
Peace walk leaders said the parade will be virtual and start at 12 p.m. A peace walk will occur due to the presence of the coronavirus in the city and in an effort to keep walkers safe. Social distancing and wearing masks will be monitored during the peace walk, leaders say.
The peace walkers are scheduled to meet at the halfway point on the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Southeast. They will proceed east until they step off of the bridge and head to Martin Luther King Jr., Avenue SE. Once there, they will proceed north until they reach the intersection with Good Hope Road SE. From there, they will march east on Good Hope Road until they reach Minnesota Avenue. On Minnesota Avenue, the walkers will proceed a few steps to the Ambassador Baptist Church. The peace walk will start at 10 a.m.
On Jan. 15, the prayer breakfast, a virtual event, will feature a keynote address from the Rev. Tyrell Holcomb, the chairman of the 7F advisory neighborhood commission. There will be other speakers, music and additional forms of entertainment.
A health and wellness fair will take place on Jan. 17 at the intersection of Good Hope Road and Minnesota Avenue. Registration can be done on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee’s website.
On Jan. 17, there will be a clothing giveaway at Martha’s Table outfitter location on Martin Luther King Avenue. In addition, local organization Community Connoisseurs will sponsor a coat, hats and masks giveaway with barbers and hair stylists on site. Food will be offered to people on a grab-and-go basis. These activities will take place in front of the Washington Informer Newspaper and in its basement, located at 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.
The annual essay contest will occur with District students addressing the theme “Is Voting the Vehicle for Effective Change?” Students in elementary, middle and high schools will compete for prizes. Jan. 7 with 11:59 p.m. serving as the deadline for submissions. The King Holiday committee co-sponsors the essay contest with the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Institute Alumni Association and other partners.