This year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day ceremony in Denton County will be different than in years past.
But the message will be more important than ever.
Because of the pandemic this year’s event, which is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 18, will take place virtually, the first time in the event’s 28-year history it will not take place in person.
The annual event is a joint effort between the Committee to Commemorate MLK Day, Lewisville ISD and the cities within LISD.
Fariborz Davoodi, a member of the Committee to Commemorate MLK Day, said he is hopeful residents from across the county will tune in to watch the video live or watch it on replay because of the message. This year’s event will be called “A Beloved Community: Justice for All” and will be the organization’s first event since the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“Dr. King talked about a beloved community,” Davoodi said. “A community where there’s justice, a community where the color of your skin doesn’t matter.”
The ceremony will feature keynote speaker Tracy Brown, an author, lecturer and expert on diversity and inclusion.
“Tracy is one of the leaders on diversity and how it works into the corporate structure,” Davoodi said. “How to make it not something you have to do but something you must do to for better productivity. A business that follows her guidelines does better.”
He said one of Brown’s approaches is to encourage a random dinner people of different races.
“People you don’t run into in your own bubble,” Davoodi said. “She’s the poster child of what we are trying to accomplish with our MLK committee … making diversity a strength rather than something we have to do legally.”
The ceremony will also include video messages from local leaders, including Congressman Michael Burgess, State Rep. Michelle Beckley, Lewisville ISD Superintendent Kevin Rogers and Flower Mound Councilman Sandeep Sharma.
The LHS dancers and other students will also perform.
The winners of the annual MLK art, essay and photo contests will be announced. Davoodi said the committee members who judge the entries could tell there was something different about them this year.
“There’s a stronger passion from the many essays that we read,” he said. “A lot of people wanted to speak out about what happened.”
Davoodi said the video format will also allow the ceremony to have new features, such as a Q&A from high school students from all five campuses about their ideas of unity, their thoughts on 2020 and their views on 2021.