This year, online and adapted in-person events will honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on Hilton Head Island with celebration, education and fellowship from January 14-19. The annual program has been modified to keep participants safe during the coronavirus pandemic. January 18 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday that commemorates the accomplishments of the civil rights leader and encourages Americans to volunteer to improve their communities.
The Hilton Head MLK Committee for Justice chose “Good trouble”—a nod to late U.S. Rep. and civil rights activist John Lewis—as the theme of this year’s celebration. The committee’s mission is to strengthen the community by promoting King's legacy.
Some of the events include:
- Local speakers will discuss preserving Gullah culture, heirs’ property, landmark civil rights legislation, S.C.’s proposed hate crimes bill and other topics. The pre-recorded talks will be posted to YouTube. Speakers include Alex Brown, Hilton Head Island Town Councilman; Dr. Louise Miller Cohen, founder and director of the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island; Dr. Emory Campbell, author and community leader; Dr. Frank Rodriguez, superintendent of Beaufort County Schools; Nathan Campbell, May River High School; Patricia Montgomery, League of Women Voters; Sandy Gillis, executive director of Deep Well; Rev. Dr. Nannette Pierson, founder and director of the Sandalwood Community Food Pantry; Amir Jamal Touré, J.D., Geechee Kunda and Georgia Southern University; Carolyn Grant, author; Risa Prince, chairman of Greater Island Council of Hilton Head and Bluffton; Dr. Barbara Meyer, EdD., psychologist; Reverend Charlie Tyler, Unitarian Universalist Church; Cathy McClellan, retired attorney and co-chair of Lowcountry Diversity Council; Ahmad Ward, executive director of Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park; Dafina Ward, executive director of The Southern AIDS Coalition; Jackie Rosswurm, PhD, interim president and CEO of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, and others.
- Volunteers will clean up native islander cemeteries on Hilton Head Island. All are invited to volunteer from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 16 at Jenkins Island Cemetery (45 William Hilton Parkway/Jenkins Road), Amelia White (95 Squire Pope Road – adjacent to the two-acre Green’s Shell Enclosure) and Spanish Wells Cemetery (30 Oak Marsh Drive). Registration is required via Eventbrite. A drive-thru breakfast for volunteers will be served at 8 a.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church, 3001 Meeting St. on Hilton Head Island.
- Religious services and musical performances will be streamed online.
- Other safe celebratory events are being planned.