Celebration of life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. goes virtual in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Despite the challenges that come with hosting events virtually, organizers say the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is as important to hear as ever.

"That message is eternal. It's relevant today, it's relevant tomorrow, and it'll be relevant the day after," said Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor. He's the chair and one of the founders of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Committee of Fresno, which was created 37 years ago.

"So I have not missed a single year, so I have been here 37 years of celebration," he said. On Friday, Dr. King's birthday, the committee joined with the City of Fresno to honor the civil rights leader with a garlanding ceremony in Downtown Fresno.

The garlanding is part of a sacred ceremony in India, where Dr. King was honored in 1959 when Dr. Kapoor was there.

"When he came, we garlanded him," Dr. Kapoor said. "It brings flowers and beauty to a person who deserves it."

The ceremony is part of an annual celebration of Dr. King that kicks off a weekend of events. Celebrations in 2021 will be different: the garlanding was the only in-person event put on in Fresno this year, with all other events moving to a virtual format.

RELATED: Fresno area virtual events celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"We still need to set an example for the kids and the next generation how we do peaceful protests and how we celebrate those who advocate for peaceful protests in our city," said Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias .

The events at our nation's capital this month served as a reminder to Congressman Jim Costa and to Mayor Jerry Dyer that even more than 50 years after his death, Dr. King's vision is as important as ever.

"In the long history of our country, we know that that our democracy has been enduring but we were reminded last week that it is fragile," Costa said.

"We need to constantly remember the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, that message of peace, that message of unity, the dream he had for people, and to recognize that we still have a long way to go as a country," Dyer said.

Those upcoming events and how to attend them can be viewed below.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Clovis Police Department Community Breakfast
Time: Program begins at 9:00 A.M.

Location: On Facebook Live: @ClovisPoliceDepartmentCalifornia
Event details: Keynote Speaker: Mr. Gregory Barfield, Assistant City Manager for the City of Fresno.

Clovis Police Department Community Drive-Through Breakfast
Time: 9:00 A.M.
Location: Clovis Police Department, 1233 Fifth Street Clovis, CA 93612
Event details: Tickets $5 each (Pre-Payment Required). Contact: Erin Ford-Horio (559) 342-2476 or erinf@cityofclovis.com.

M.L.K. Candlelight Vigil
Time: 6:00 P.M.
Location: Zoom ID: 815 8671 3287
Event details: Contact: John Sturdivant (559) 974-2503 or Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor (559) 435-2212.
Sunday, January 17, 2021

M.L.K. Thematic Exploratorium Program

Location: Zoom ID: 815 8671 3287
Time: 3:00 P.M.
Event details: Contact: Bishop John A. Sims at (559) 512-9836. "Relive the experience of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church!"

Monday, January 18, 2021

M.L.K. Celebration
Location: Zoom ID: 815 8671 3287
Time: 9:15 A.M.-10:45 A.M.
Event details: Contact: James Lett III (559) 284- 6420, Gail Gaston (559) 681-3140.

Commemoration Program & Community Awards Ceremony
Location: Zoom ID: 815 8671 3287
Time: 11:00 A.M.
Event details: Join us via Zoom in celebrating the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his contributions to community diversity and our enriched culture. Commemoration Program Keynote Speaker-Sabrina Kelley of Well Fargo, Community Awards Ceremony Awardees: Yolanda Randles-Les Kimber Community Organization Award, Dr. Rais Vohra-M.L.K. Community Award & Congressman Jim Costa-M.L.K. Community Award. Contact: Terri Kimber Edwards (559) 908-0639 or email: Hon. Eric Payne at Eric.paynecmc@gmail.com.
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