As Americans gear up to remember and honor Civil Rights Movement leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Jan. 21, some West Orange municipalities have some celebrations of their own planned.
Both the cities of Ocoee and Winter Garden will host their annual MLK Day parades and unity festivities, and students from Oakland Avenue Charter School have been working hard to put into words who King was and how his contributions continue to have an impact in today’s society.
OCOEE UNITY PARADE
This year marks the city of Ocoee’s 13th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Parade and Celebration, an event that has become a highlight of the commemorative holiday for many residents.
The city’s Human Relations Diversity Board presents the parade each year to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year’s parade starts at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 21, at Citrus Elementary School and ends at the West Oaks Mall parking lot.
Following the parade, there will be a celebration in the West Oaks Mall food court at 11 a.m. Ocoee Commissioner George Oliver III, the city’s first African-American commissioner, will deliver the keynote address. Attendees will be treated to performances by gospel singer Sherri Gladney, violinist Jasmin Rhia and Miss American Victory 2018 Charisma Tran.
This year’s theme is “Achieving My Dream.” To participate in the parade, register online at ocoee.org/MLK, and for more information, call (407) 905-3100.
WINTER GARDEN UNITY CELEBRATION
For the 11th year, the city of Winter Garden invites the community to celebrate the leader of the Civil Rights Movement with its Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Celebration.
To be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 21, the celebration kicks off with a parade, which travels west on Plant Street through downtown Winter Garden and ends at the pavilion.
From 10:30 a.m. on, a festival complete with vendors, speakers, children’s activities and live entertainment will ensue.
Those interested in participating in the parade must register online at bit.ly/2CkbLuq. All entries are eligible for the Parade Spirit Award, and staging will occur at the corner of Dillard and Plant streets.
For more information, contact the Winter Garden Parks and Recreation Department at (407) 656-4155.
OACS MLK CELEBRATION CONTEST
For the past few years, fifth-graders at Oakland Avenue Charter School have been encouraged to participate in a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration contest.
In conjunction with the town of Oakland, the contest requires students to present collages and poems depicting the life of King. In the past, students have participated in a similar essay-writing contest to describe who King was and why his activism continues to make a difference today.
Students’ work already has been submitted and judged, but they will present their essays at 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, in the school cafeteria. Awards also will be presented.
For more information, call the school at (407) 877-2039.