MLK parade file photo

Officials from the United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County march in the 2020 Gwinnett County Martin Luther King Jr. Parade. This year’s parade has been canceled because of a call from King’s family to not hold celebrations without action on voting rights legislation and also because of the new surge in COVID-19 cases.

The annual Gwinnett County Martin Luther King Jr. Parade has been canceled, but organizers have announced plans to instead hold a candlelight vigil to call for voting rights legislation.

The United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County said there are two reasons for the cancellation of the parade, which would have been held on Jan 17. One reason is a call from King’s family to focus on calls for voting rights legislation, while the other is the new surge in COVID-19 cases.

“The decision to cancel the parade is two-fold,” United Ebony Society President Zachary Pratt said in an announcement. “In efforts to honor the wishes of the King family, the celebration could not take place without the inclusion of Voting Rights legislation.

“In addition, the low registration of participants due to COVID concerns, as well as the recent surge in viral infections, impacts the organization’s ability to successfully implement a robust celebration.”

This the second year in a row that the King Day parade has been canceled. Last year’s parade was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cancellation of this year’s parade does not mean the United Ebony Society of Gwinnett County plans to let the King holiday pass by without holding some type of event, however. The organization announced it will instead hold a candlelight prayer vigil to call for passage of voting rights legislation from 5 until 7 p.m. on Jan. 17 at the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse, which is located on the Lawrenceville Square at 185 W. Crogan St. in Lawrenceville.

“The United Ebony Society of Gwinnett, believes this to be a safe alternative, to the annual MLK day Parade, which honors all stakeholders,” Pratt said. “We would like to thank the community leaders, partners, and citizens of the Gwinnett County community, for your continuing support in celebrating Dr. King’s legacy.”

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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