Merced County Times Newspaper
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Merced’s MLK Celebration this year will go ‘virtual’

EXCLUSIVE: Read our MLK-inspired poems from residents!


Every year, Merced is known for hosting one of the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations, complete with a march downtown, cultural performances and speeches. Hundreds of residents always attend. 

This year, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic and public health restrictions will not allow for such an event. 

“It is with regret the MLK Jr. Committee will not hold the annual march and celebration due to the pandemic,” committee member Tamara Cobb told the Times.  

Nevertheless, the Merced chapter of the NAACP is going ahead with what they are calling a Virtual Celebration of the life of MLK Jr. 

“Let us captivate your time with history, arts and entertainment,” a poster for the event reads. 

The online celebration will be on Monday, Jan. 18, from noon to 2 p.m. Details on how to log into the streaming video will be at the website: or on the group’s Facebook site of the same name. Search for 

“This is a wonderful time for Merced,” Allen Brooks, the NAACP president, said in a video message. “Times are changing. 2021 is here. Let’s celebrate Dr. King’s message of justice for all.”

In the past weeks, the NAACP has also been looking for community talent for the event, including singers, dancers, skits, comedians and spoken word. They asked for people to submit videos to Ms. Marquez at [email protected] Videos should be in a link form from a social media source for best quality.

For more information, people can email the NAACP at: [email protected]

ALSO: On Jan. 30, at the Merced Food Center, 1150 Martin Luther King Jr Way, a new street mural celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. will be unveiled for the community. The effort led by community activist and politician Antonio Salazar and others, will include performances and a dedication ceremony. 


black n yellow  




black n yellow caution tape, 

stretched; superman’s embrace.  

there’s no transubstantiation 

for his family’s infinite pattern 

of morning-leaving-forehead-kisses 

can-we-stay-up-longer bedtime hugs.

everyone please gather round 

let’s listen: 

lesson 1

our freedom is bound 



Christina Lux is Associate Director of the Center for the Humanities at UC Merced. Her poetry has appeared on National Public Radio, in The Houston Chronicle, and in a dozen other books, journals and magazines.




I Dream




I sat on my bed
No more than ten
Wondering if life
would ever be the same
Wondering if all humanity
had died
In that moment
In that lonely moment
Hearing the news
Feeling the confusion
Feeling the pain
the loss
How do you create words
Define a moment
of such anguish
emotions raw
Feelings bundled in a Small Body
Unable to digest
Unable to feel
Unable to believe
Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated.
Would I wake up tomorrow?
The world right
The world whole
I look up
into a sky
of painted angels
I hear Martin’s words
“I’ve been to the Mountaintop”

And, I dream.


Dr. Kim McMillon is a producer, playwright and upcoming Willow Books author (Voyages). McMillon is a contributor to the anthology Some Other Blues: New Perspectives on Amiri Baraka (Ohio University Press, February 2021).  McMillon is the editor of the upcoming anthology Black Fire—This Time to be published by Willow Books (Summer 2021).  She co-produced the 2014 Black Arts Movement Conference Fifty Years On with UC Merced’s Center for the Humanities, ASUCM, and the Office of Student Life.



“And this was the way … we journeyed from Can’t to Can.”

  Robert Hayden


Remember The Future




Remember the folk who

stood up, walked out of hell,

with howling hounds at their heels,

who, pulled by North Star light, crossed

“Deep River”. And though rocky “the uphill road

they trod”, by repetitiously putting one exhausted

foot in front of the other while carrying babies, the living

future, traversed the landscapes of possibility, scaled and

more easefully descended Mount Hope’s downside to the futurity

that was, is the wild, incompletely won but still promising frontier of

three contiguous territories: freedom, equity justice. Knowing time-line

wise there is always “One More River To Cross”, and knowing

that history reminds us the way to, across it, was, is,

shall be how we get to can from can’t.


This poem was dedicated to Dr. Kim McMillon by Everett Hoagland, Emeritus Professor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Hoagland was Poet Laureate of New Bedford, Massachusetts; is the editor of the anthology OCEAN VOICES and a recipient of the annual Langston Hughes Society Award.

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