The National Day of Service is Saturday, with planned events in all 50 states honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The Mexico MLK Committee invites the community to join in the local commemoration being held on Monday, Martin Luther King Day.
The Mexico celebration will begin with a morning service and prayer breakfast at 9:30 a.m. at the United Methodist Church. The Rev. Karl Thomas will provide the message. A march from UMC to the county courthouse will assemble at 11:30 a.m. and begin at 11:45 a.m. The noon service will be held in the courthouse rotunda. An evening program will be held at 6 p.m. at the Second Missionary Baptist Church.
This year's theme is "Change Begins With Me."
The guest speaker for the noon service will be the Rev. Fannie Sanders Johnson from Bracy Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Louis.
Rev. Johnson has served as pastor of Bracy Chapel CME Church since 2004. She earned her bachelor of science in Christian Ministry from St. Louis Christian College. Johnson is a former educator, a family consultant and a center coordinator for urban programs. She has held various local positions in the CME Church, serving as ministerial coordinator at Murchison Tabernacle CME Church, president of the Board of Christian Education, chaplain, treasurer, and vice-president of the St. Louis District Ministerial Alliance.
Johnson has also served as an inspirational speaker of the gospel at numerous events and for various occasions, which have led her to cross denominational boun-daries. She believes and reminds her congregation that "God blesses us to be a blessing."
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., President Barack Obama started a "Day of Service" project during his first inauguration, which allows people to give back to their communities. The Mexico community, as always, stepped to the plate.
The Mexico Area YMCA is offering a free swim on Friday, Jan. 18, from 1:30-3 p.m. to celebrate Dr. Matin Luther King. Students from Eugene Field Elementary will be bused to the Audrain Courthouse on Jan. 21 to perform four musical performances during the noon-day service. Cadets from the Missouri Military Academy committed to hang flags around the courthouse, and lead the traditional march from UMC to the courthouse. The City of Mexico is also presenting a proclamation, proclaiming Jan. 21 King Day.
Each year, a fundamental question arises. Young people especially want to know, "Why do we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? A local essay contest is being held at the Mexico Middle School, and the winning entries from the contest will be read during the courthouse gathering.
Mexico MLK Committee Chairperson Jaye Jackson hopes the community will plan to attend.
"America will always remember the work of Martin Luther King Jr. Each year, on the third Monday in January, we celebrate his birthday. This is the first national holiday to honor an individual black American. The legacy of Dr. King lives in each of us and we are responsible to promote, teach and live the American Dream," Jackson said, reciting from a website entry regarding King and why his life is honored.