Merced County Times Newspaper
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MLK events put on hold after storms push through

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. march in Merced is held on Jan. 16, but it was unclear (as of the County Times’ press deadline earlier this week) if the event was going to go on as scheduled. Recent storms and flooding has disrupted life across the Merced County region.
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. march in Merced is held on Jan. 16, but it was unclear (as of the County Times’ press deadline earlier this week) if the event was going to go on as scheduled. Recent storms and flooding has disrupted life across the Merced County region.

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. march in Merced may not happen this coming Monday, Jan. 16, and a planned celebration at the Merced Theatre has been postponed, according to organizers who spoke to the Times on Tuesday after rainstorms hit the city and caused serious flooding in some areas.

As of Wednesday morning before the Times weekly press deadline, it was unclear the “Peace and Unity” march would go on as planned. Rain was still in the forecast while members of the MLK organizing committee were seeking guidance from the city which handles the street closure necessary for the event.

Event chairperson Tamara Cobb told the Times that the MLK Jr. Day program at the Merced Theatre could possibly be held at a later date during Black History Month in February. The event would have to be coordinated with several other programs from community groups going on during the same period of time.

The speeches and performances planned for the Merced Theatre on MLK Jr. Day were expected to focus on the civil rights leader’s vision for unity in the face of difficult social problems. Community awards were also set to be handed out to local civil rights advocates.

This year marks the 26th anniversary of the march in Merced. Billed as the largest multicultural event in the county, Cobb said the parade usually attracts between 700 to 1,000 participants.

The honor of grandmaster of ceremonies this year went to Dr. Maria Martin, a UC Merced assistant professor of African History and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies. In 2020, she founded the Black Alliance, a group of UCM students, faculty and staff that supports the Black community.

Pastor Robert Morris of Harvest Church in Atwater was named keynote speaker for the event. Community volunteer Loretta Spence was set to receive the Spirit Award for her 40 year history of service to Merced. Other community awards and guest speakers were listed in the program.

The parade was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at the fairgrounds, and marchers were to head down Martin Luther King Jr. Way to the Merced Theatre for the program.

Stay tuned to website: MercedCountyTimes.com, or the newspaper’s Facebook page, for any updates later on in the week before the holiday.

 

Day of Service

Multiple service opportunities were being offered for Jan. 16 holiday before the storms and flooding took their toll earlier in the week. A Downtown Merced Cleanup with Mayor Matthew Serratto was planned between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. At the same time, a cleanup was planned for the Lake Road Bike Path that approaches the UC Merced campus. Also, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., volunteers were to cook and serve dinner at the D Street Shelter.

Stay tuned to website: MercedCountyTimes.com, or the newspaper’s Facebook page, for any updates later on in the week before the holiday.

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