The Paducah-McCracken County NAACP’s annual Martin Luther King birthday celebration will be virtual this year, because of continuing COVID-19 concerns.

The annual MLK luncheon will be aired at noon Monday, and again at 7 p.m., on Paducah Channel 2. It will also be available on the Paducah NAACP Facebook page, the W.C. Young Community Center Facebook page and WPSD Local 6.

The celebration usually features different events spread over several days.

“We’re happy we can continue our decades-long tradition of hosting our annual Martin Luther King celebration,” said J.W. Cleary, NAACP chapter president. “Now more than ever it is important to come together to fight for racial equality and justice.

However, he added: “We’re not going to do any outside activity whatsoever. We don’t want to take a chance of anybody getting sick or anything of that nature.”

During the broadcast, scholarship winners will be announced, as well as winners of the annual Fredricka Hargrove MLK essay and poster contest, and the 2021 “I Have a Dream” honorees. Paducah Mayor George Bray, McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer and Anton Reece, president of West Kentucky Community and Technical College, will also provide remarks.

The guest speaker for the event is Phyllis Young Nichols, president and CEO of the Knoxville Area Urban League.

As CEO since 2000, Nichols has expanded the Urban League’s impact to serve more than 11,000 individuals and families each year through its 24 programs to provide a skilled and diverse workforce, increase home ownership, support economic and small business development and advocate for equity and excellence in education for students of color.

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