MLK colleague to speak at King Celebration

The Albany King Day Celebration is set for Jan. 20

King Day Celebration keynote speaker Xernona Clayton (Special Photo: Mark Hill)

King Day Celebration keynote speaker Xernona Clayton (Special Photo: Mark Hill)

ALBANY — Albany’s annual King Day Celebration will be held Jan. 20 at the Albany Civic Center and will feature an address from a prominent civil rights leader who once worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The King Day Celebration, which is held each year in Albany, is designed to honor King’s legacy and recognize members of the community who uphold his philosophy of brotherly love.

As part of the celebration, each year two adults and one youth are given the Dream Award in recognition of embodying the characteristics of the civil rights leader as well as their commitment to servant leadership in the community.

In addition to the presentation of the awards, a keynote address will be delivered by Xernona Clayton, who is the founder, president and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation Inc., which hosts the annual Trumpet Awards highlighting African-American accomplishments and contributions.

A former executive with Turner Broadcasting System for nearly 30 years, Clayton has worked as a civic rights leader for decades and was awarded a position with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1965. Clayton also worked closely with King before the civil rights leader’s death and traveled extensively with King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, on her nationwide tours.

Clayton has been widely honored for her contributions in promoting human relations through biracial groups devoted to improving racial understanding, something that event co-chair Bill Robinson says is the primary focus of the King Day Celebration.

“I feel that the King Day Celebration brings the community together,” Robinson said. “It’s a diverse group that attends and that’s what we need to ensure everyone’s voice is heard in the community. It’s part of Dr. King’s dream that we all work together as one people for the betterment of all people.”

This year’s event is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. and will also feature entertainment and a catered meal provided by sponsor Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

Individual tickets for the event are $20 and may be purchased at the Civic Center. Tables for up to eight people may also be purchased starting at $500.

Other major sponsors of the event include The Albany Herald, Mars Chocolate North America, MillerCoors Brewing, Procter & Gamble and WALB.

Anyone interested in obtaining more information or wanting to support the King Day Celebration may contact Robinson at (229) 886-6020.