The Murfreesboro chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will commence its first ever Civil Rights Week on Monday, Jan. 14.
The theme for the week is, “Unity That Binds a Community.”
On each night of the Civil Rights Week, various activities and events will be held at different organizations and churches in Murfreesboro.
“It’s the coming together of all of us,” said Rev. Kenny Williams, who serves as president of the Murfreesboro NAACP chapter.
He said everyone in the community is invited to participate.
“The NAACP is for anyone who is discriminated against," Williams said. "It’s not for one race of people. It is brothers and sisters of all races. It makes the country stronger.”
Last year, Williams said he decided to have an entire week of informative activities to bring the community together. To illustrate his point, he compared his mission with baking his favorite dish.
“My favorite thing to bake is a peach cobbler,” he said. “When you combine the different ingredients and put it in the oven, the resulting product is better than the individual. This tells me that we’re stronger as a unit than as individuals.”
Although Williams said he is enjoying his first term as president, he expressed concern that the NAACP is mistakenly considered only for African-Americans.
“It’s far beyond an African-American organization. It began with white people who wanted to make change,” he said. “Mary White Ovington and Henry Moscowitz were among the founding members. The NAACP is all about unity. That’s where the Civil Rights Week theme comes from ... unity that binds a community.”
First Baptist Church will kick off the weeklong event with a chapter-led discussion on health inequalities in communities that are underserved.
There will also be mammograms, diabetes, and free tests for sexually transmitted diseases and cholesterol, as well as other services. Doors will open at 5:15 p.m. at each event from Monday through Thursday.
At Cedar Grove Primitive Baptist Church on Tuesday, the Education Committee will host an event called “Global Competiveness and Academic Agility.”
“That will be an informational session with different things that pertain to getting your (general education development) test. People will be there to talk about adult literacy,” Williams said.
The Political Action Committee will play host to Wednesday’s event at New Hope Church of God in Christ. Council members and representatives from the Rutherford Country Election Commission will discuss the important aspects of voting.
On Thursday, there will be a session offering tips on how to avoid housing and employment discrimination, and information on how convicted felones can return to the community to find work and success. There will also be a “Stop the Violence” rally and a free legal session. These programs will be held at Central Christian Church.
A “Teen Summit” will happen at 6 p.m. Friday at the Patterson Park Community Center.
“We’ll have creative performances and entertainment,” Williams said. “We’ll be talking to the young people about real life issues. We’re there that night to celebrate the youth.”
Retired professional football player Robert James will be on hand as the keynote speaker for the evening.
James played six seasons with the Buffalo Bills and was a three-time Pro Bowler in 1972, 1973, and 1974 before settling in Rutherford County and working for Rutherford County Schools.
The 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast will take place at 9 a.m. the next morning at the James Union Building at Middle Tennessee State University. Gospel singer Connie Denell will be the mistress of ceremony and Bishop Christopher A. Johnson Sr. will be the guest speaker. Tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for people younger than 24.
At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Gloria Bonner will present a performance art presentation called “From Whence We Came” at First Baptist Church.
The Civil Rights Week will conclude with the Dr. Martin Luther King Gathering and March on Monday, Jan. 21. At 11:30 a.m., the participants will gather at Central Middle School.
The march will start at noon and finish at Patterson Park Community Center where pastor Donald Whitmore will provide an excerpt of King’s speech, followed by a viewing of the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama.
Williams said he is excited about the Civil Rights Week and is looking forward to watching it unfold.
“We have a dynamite week planned for you,” he said. “Come out and be blessed.”
For more information, contact Williams at 615-390-3473 or email@example.com.