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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Virtual Celebration in Jonesboro Set for Monday, January 18

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Arkansas State University
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JONESBORO – Activities associated with the 2021 Northeast Arkansas Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Day celebration, “Truth, Love and Justice,” have been announced by the Northeast Arkansas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. planning committee, according to Dr. Lonnie Williams, vice chancellor for diversity and community engagement at Arkansas State University.Due to COVID-19 concerns, this year’s schedule of events has been curtailed. In previous years, a youth program and march were included as part of the celebration. Out of concern for participants’ safety, the NEA Martin Luther King Jr. committee will be hosting a virtual program on Monday, Jan. 18, at noon. Former Arkansas legislator Tracy Steele is the program speaker and will be featured via the following sources:

Steele served two terms in the Arkansas Senate and two terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives. During the most recent election, he was a candidate in the mayoral race for North Little Rock.

One of his proudest legislative achievements was the funding and completion of the State Capitol monument “Testament,” which is dedicated to the Little Rock Nine and the civil rights movement.

Sen. Steele has been widely recognized for his legislative achievements with several awards. He established an official state holiday in honor of Arkansas champion of racial equality Daisy Gatson Bates, mandated all public education institutions include physical education as a part of the curriculum, and established the Kids for Health Program through the Arkansas Department of Health.

Steele began his government career as special assistant for economic and community development in the Arkansas Governor's Office for then-Gov. Bill Clinton, and served on the Hispanic Task Force.

In 2006, he founded two private ventures including STAND! News, a publication focused on issues affecting the Black community, and The STAND Foundation, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization dedicated to leadership development for young adults.

The program will feature Chancellor Kelly Damphousse bringing greetings on behalf of Arkansas State University, selections by the MLK Singers, and introduction of the speaker by Williams.

This year’s program will mark the 19th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in Jonesboro, according to Kenisha Ross, chair of the MLK Day planning committee.

For additional details, call 870-667-1937 or email mlkjrday_pr2001@yahoo.com. The program is open to the public.