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Church service to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta

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ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Mayor, Georgia Governor and U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock are due to attend Martin Luther King Jr.’s annual service at King’s former congregation, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

The service at Ebenezer and other events surrounding Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorate what would have been King’s 93rd birthday.

In a press release, the King Center in Atlanta said Monday’s 10 a.m. service will be broadcast live on Atlanta’s Fox TV affiliate and on Facebook, YouTube and thekingcenter.org.

Reverend Natosha Reid Rice and Pastor Sam Collier will preside over the service. This year’s keynote speaker is the Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church.

Musical performances are also planned, including Keke Wyatt, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Pastor Mike Jr., Le’Andria Johnson and Emanne Beasha.

“This year’s theme, ‘It Starts With Me: Shifting Priorities to Create Beloved Community,’ reflects our belief that it is essential and necessary for the survival of humanity and the Earth that we are changing our priorities for a strategic quest to create a just, humane, equitable and peaceful world,” King Center CEO Bernice King said in a statement.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday March and Rally is also scheduled for Monday afternoon in downtown Atlanta. The march is expected to end on Auburn Avenue in front of the King Center, where a rally is planned. The King Center is also working with the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda and Youth Service America on a voter registration drive Monday in Atlanta.

“On this royal holiday, I call on us to shift our priorities to reflect a commitment to true peace and an awareness of our interconnectedness, interdependence and interdependence. This will lead us to a better understanding of our responsibilities to one another, which is crucial to learning to live together, achieving ‘true peace’ and creating the beloved Community,” Bernice King said in announcing the events.

Martin Luther King Jr. — pastor, civil rights leader, one of the world’s most beloved people — dedicated his life to achieving racial equality, a goal he said was inseparable from reducing poverty and an end to war.

King gave his historic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech while leading the 1963 march on Washington, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis while taking part in a strike underpaid sanitation workers. He was 39 years old.

King’s example and his insistence on nonviolent protest continues to influence many activists working for civil rights and social change.

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