Day of Hope

Rhyan Williams, 4, adds her own artistic touch to a community mural painted Saturday during the Day of Hope in 2020 on the historic Risley campus in Brunswick.

A community breakfast will once again kick off a weekend of celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority will host the annual MLK Breakfast at 8 a.m. Friday at College Place United Methodist Church, 3890 Altama Avenue in Brunswick. Doors will open at 7:30 a.m.

The breakfast will be the first of many events celebrating King’s legacy. Other events include a parade at 10 a.m. Monday beginning at Howard Coffin Park, a virtual Equity Dinner hosted by Glynn Clergy for Equity at 6 p.m. Jan. 20, and more.

Community Action will also host the first MLK Jr. Arts Festival at the Rise Risley campus, 1800 Albany St. in Brunswick, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The family event will be hosted in partnership with Glynn Visual Arts and the Coastal Symphony of Georgia.

Tres Hamilton, CEO of Community Action, looks forward annually to starting off the year with the inspirational messages and acts of service that make up MLK weekend.

“What I’m always hopeful for is that it’s not just another day,” she said. “One thing I’m always hoping when we have the breakfast and we have a speaker, or other organizations have different events with speakers, is that people are really not only enjoying it but are listening to the words and what is said and are able to take that and to put it into action for the rest of the year.”

The theme of this year’s breakfast is “the power of unity is the catalyst for change.” The word “unity” has been an especially important one over the past year in Glynn County as the community came together throughout the trial of three White men found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black 25-year-old man who was jogging in their neighborhood. Hamilton said this year’s theme aims to encourage a continuation of the unified spirit that’s been on display in the aftermath of Arbery’s tragic killing.

“Our community has been really unified and really come together in the wake of Ahmaud Arbery’s killing and then the trial for that,” she said. “We as a community have been able to come together and really begin a healing process, and it really speaks to how powerful unity is.”

This year’s breakfast speaker will be Marco Clark, founder and CEO of the Richard Wright Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., and a leader in urban education.

Tickets for the breakfast can be bought online at coastalgacaa.org/events and should be purchased in advance.

The Arts Festival will include an open house tour of new Head Start classrooms in the Jackson Building. Community Action plans to open the classrooms soon, Hamilton said.

The symphony will perform pieces composed by African American musicians, and members of the symphony will stick around after the concert to talk with youth about music.

“The Coastal Symphony of Georgia is thrilled to be able to contribute to our community’s MLK Day celebrations by offering a musical repertoire of pieces by African American composers performed by a brass quartet, a string ensemble and a solo tuba,” said Leslie Graitcer, a member of the board of the Coastal Symphony.

“We are equally delighted to be performing for an audience of local families and children on the historic campus of Rise Risley. As one of a group of community partners for this event, we believe that we honor Dr. King best when we give a head start to our children through the arts and through our example of community collaboration.”

GVA will set up art activities for families to participate in, and local artists who painted murals around Brunswick as part of the Rise Risley initiative will be on hand to talk with guests.

Food will be provided by the Lambda Tau Chapter of Omega Psi Phi.

Hamilton said she hopes the festival will continue to be a part of MLK activities each year.

“We do want to encourage everyone to come out and be a part of it as we just use it to celebrate Dr. King,” Hamilton said.

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