Join fellow community members at a free event honoring the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, January 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Flamson Middle School auditorium, located at 2450 Spring St. With a 2019 theme of “I Am … Because of His Legacy,” this annual celebration commemorates King’s lifelong journey toward equality and peace.

“This year’s theme honors Dr. King on the 50th anniversary of his assassination,” Event Chairperson Lovella Walker said. “The celebration brings together people from all different aspects of our local community to recognize and appreciate both our differences and similarities.”

The March for Unity kicks off the day — participants should gather at 11:30 a.m. at 21st Street and Riverside Avenue, near the fairgrounds. At noon, walk with friends and family to Flamson Middle School to start the 1 p.m. celebration; refreshments will be provided to all march participants.

“In keeping with the commemorations planned across the United States to honor the civil rights leader… the theme asks each of us to think about what we have become because of King’s leadership,” Walker said. “We are asking the community to fill in the blank — ‘I am more aware because of his legacy … I am more resilient because of his legacy … I am more tolerant because of his legacy.’ These are only a few possibilities for answers to the question, ‘What are you because of his legacy?’ Because of his legacy, we hope people will reflect equality, unity, and genuine love amongst one another.”

Due to the crowd’s overwhelming response to Dr. Joye M. Carter, MD last year, she will return as the 2019 keynote speaker. Dr. Carter is expected to expound on the theme and motivate, captivate, and inspire the audience with an enthusiastic, powerful message.

The program will also feature folkloric dancers; The Black Queens; PRHS Jazz Band; bagpipes; Singing Hands; the PRHS Black Student Union, and more. In addition, the annual Art & Essay Contest returns — Joe Schwartz Photo Archive will be donating his posters as prizes — and there will be door prizes.

The event is made possible by The City of Paso Robles, the REC Foundation, Paso Robles 4A Foundation, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District, Paso Robles Waste & Recycle, Second Baptist Church, and Walmart.

The Ministerial Association will make the celebration part of its Week of Unity, according to Walker. This will start on Jan. 18 for eight nights of prayer for Christian unity, hosted at several different local churches.

Event volunteers are still needed; call 805-237-3988 or see prcity.com/recreation for more information.