LIMA — The death of Martin Luther King Jr. at the hands of James Earl Ray brought riots to many streets across America in 1968.
Now, 46 years later, it brings people together to celebrate his commitment to peace and equality.
Many events are taking place in the Lima area to remember King, a pastor, activist, humanitarian and leader in the civil rights movement.
• The Community Action Program is sponsoring two events held annually. The 32nd Annual “I Have a Dream” banquet will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at Lima Towers. The dinner is free.
The Revs. Ron Fails and Tony Jordan are guest speakers for the event, CAP spokesman Derry Glenn said. Also, several awards will be given away during the event, including the Furl Williams Award, Nary Coleman Award, Larry Watkins Award, Rosa Parks Award, Georgia Newsome Award and Alberta Shurelds Award. Two officers will also be chosen as Law Enforcement Officer and Fireman of the year.
• On Monday, CAP is hosting the eighth annual Unity March. The event is free.
The walk will begin at the former Whittier School on Reese Avenue and end at the Cheryl Allen Southside Community Center. Glenn said participants are to begin arriving at 2:30 p.m. to organize. After a brief discussion and prayer, the group will begin walking at 3 p.m.
Glenn said this year, participants will be asked to hold hands to celebrate unity as they make the trek. People wanting to participate that cannot walk will be allowed to drive the route along with walkers.
• The Rev. Lamont Monford Sr. has reserved Regal Cinema for a private screening of the new movie “Selma” at 2 p.m. Monday. Tickets for the screening are $7 and will be available from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Philippian Missionary Baptist Church.
The American historical drama film directed by Ava DuVernay is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by King, James Bevel, Hosea Williams and John Lewis of SNCC. It has garnered high praise from critics since its Jan. 9 release despite being snubbed by the Oscars.
• Bluffton University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration will begin at 7 p.m. Monday at the First Mennonite Sanctuary at Bluffton University. The opening act is Georgia Leichty Adams, of Findlay. She has been active in language revitalization of her husband’s Mingo language, which only has one living native speaker left. Adams will primarily sing in Mingo and will use a drum she made herself out of buffalo hide.
Featured musician Diem Lafortune plays Acadian fiddle tunes, Celtic, prairie Cree drums, and the accordion and strings-fueled tunes of the Jews and Romans in Eastern Europe. She was a 2013 Canadian Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year nominee at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Donations for the performers will be collected.
• At 1 p.m. Feb. 13, I Am Making A Difference Inc. will present its seventh annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Contest.
Theme for the contest is “Give Us the Ballot: A Hope for Change,” which was taken from the 2015 The Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission’s theme. Civil Rights Activist the Rev. Joel L. King Jr., a first cousin to Martin Luther King Jr., will be keynote speaker.
Eighteen orators will participate in the event, being held at the Martha Farmer Theatre for the Performing Arts at Ohio State University-Lima. Admission is free.
• Afro Blue, a jazz ensemble from Howard University, will be the featured performer for The University of Findlay’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Winebrenner Theological Seminary’s TLB Auditorium. Admission is free.
• Sister Paulette Schroeder, a Sister of St. Francis and leader of Project Peace in Tiffin, will speak on “The ‘Moral Courage’ Needed to Live Nonviolently” at Bluffton University’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Forum at 11 a.m. Tuesday in Founders Hall. The event is free.