Public celebrations to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King in Lafayette have been suspended this year over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. State Senator Gerald Boudreaux made that announcement yesterday.

Boudreaux, in his remarks to media outlets, suggested that organizers would follow the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and the State of Louisiana regarding public gatherings during these pandemic times.

For more than three decades organizers of Martin Luther King Day events in South Louisiana have presented programs, pageants, parades, and held other significant celebrations to honor Dr. King and his legacy of peace.

The MLK events in Lafayette have always surrounded the federal holiday that was established to honor the late civil rights leader. This year, the MLK Holiday falls on January 18th, that's next Monday. On that day many federal, state, and local offices will close in honor of Dr. King.

KLFY Television posted Senator Boudreaux's entire statement on behalf of the MLK committee.

We ask and encourage that in light of the recent INSURRECTION of our Nation’s Capitol that we all take time to reflect on non-violent and peaceful messages that Dr. King preached and alternately died for on April 4, 1968.  His “I Have a Dream” speech and his many writings including his letter from the Birmingham jail in 1963 is the true measure of his courage and wisdom.  The speeches and leadership cemented Dr. King’s legacy which led to Time magazine naming him “Man of the Year” and in 1964 became the youngest person ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 

The committee request that all members of the community celebrate by providing “Service” on January 18, 2021.  We challenge our churches to allowing programming (in-person or remotely) that will reflect a day on and not a day off.  We ask that we continue to follow all of the recommended guidelines of social distancing, frequently washing of our hands and wearing of a face covering/mask to avoid the spread of this deadly virus.  We also support the taking of the vaccine when it becomes available to all of our citizens. 

We pray that everyone remains healthy and safe.  We promise to return to our activities and programs as soon as it is safe for all to attend. 

The federal holiday honoring Dr. King was signed into law by Ronald Regan in November of 1983. The first federal celebration of the holiday was in 1986.

Many communities around the country celebrate the MLK Holiday as a day of service. You know, a day to spruce up around a local park or clean up a public space or add a coat of paint to something that needs it. This year, maybe we can all celebrate Dr. King's legacy by working with our families to create the change in our community that we'd all like to see.

KEEP READING: What were the most popular baby names from the past 100 years?