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: mercednaacp.com or on the group’s Facebook site of the same name. Search for @mercednaacp.com.
“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
By CHRISTINA LUX
black n yellow caution tape,
stretched; superman’s embrace.
there’s no transubstantiation
for his family’s infinite pattern
can-we-stay-up-longer bedtime hugs.
everyone please gather round
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.
By KIM McMILLON
I sat on my bed
No more than ten
Wondering if life
would ever be the same
Wondering if all humanity
In that moment
In that lonely moment
Hearing the news
Feeling the confusion
Feeling the pain
How do you create words
Define a moment
of such anguish
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
By EVERETT HOAGLAND
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.