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Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. in a year unlike any other

Published: Jan. 17, 2021 at 9:36 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- a day to remember an icon in the US civil rights movement.

Usually, there are countless events commemorating the work and life of Dr. King. But with a pandemic, it makes it a bit harder.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of organizations celebrating.

It’s more than a Monday off. It’s a day to remember a man with a dream of equality for everyone in the United States.

“Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day that reminds us of the continuing legacy of not only the accomplishments of this great man in the history of the United States, as far as furthering civil rights for both African Americans and all people of color, but basically for all Americans,” explains Rev. Arnold Isidore Thomas, pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Jericho.

That’s something some Americans continue to question, especially in light of the January 6 insurrection in Washington D.C.

“Certainly people of color throughout the nation and throughout the world are asking themselves if that group of protestors were predominantly black, or predominantly people of color, what would the outcome of that be,” says Rev. Thomas.

Pastor Thomas is a voice advocating for equality in the Green Mountain State, and says this year, especially, is a year to remember Dr. King’s work.

“How do we as a people and as a nation relate to one another, work with one another, in trying to resolve the tensions, the problems, the crises that we experience,” asks Rev. Thomas.

While many will cancel MLK Day events due to the pandemic, others have shifted important celebrations online.

“But if there is ever a time that we need Dr. King’s message, if there’s ever a time that we need his inspiration, it’s today,” says Patrick Brown, director of the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center.

The Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center will be holding their annual event online this year, in lieu of cancelling.

Brown says that decision came in the fall. While they knew the pandemic may still be a factor, they will not let it stifle a crucial matter.

“Keep the message alive. It’s important to keep the flame burning. Dr. King would have been at the center of everything happening today, and so every year we come together to remember and reflect on his message,” says Brown.

The online event will feature keynote speaker Tim Wise, a prominent anti-racist writer and educator.

The livestream will be filmed at Saint Joseph’s Cathedral, and begins Sunday, at 3 p.m.

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