Children at Laughlin Memorial Chapel on Monday celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day with food, prayer and festivities.
The morning began with a breakfast and was followed with educational programming throughout the day. The Rev. Daniel Mason, Laughlin Memorial Chapel program director, offered a prayer before the morning meal.
"Help us believe in the dream of Martin Luther King," Mason said during prayer.
Photo by Rebecca Olsavsky
Taking part in Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day events at Laughlin Memorial Chapel in Wheeling are from left, Ezaria Kenebrew, Harmonie Mayfield, Shamya Mayfield, Jurnee Hawkins and Tajzhe Galberth.
Referencing the significance of the day, Mason said those at Laughlin Memorial Chapel "believe in equality and want to teach (the children) the history of Martin Luther King and what he was about."
KeAsia King, one of the children attending the day's events, reflected that "Martin Luther King made this day important for America."
Mason further emphasized that the day holds relevance for all people.
"It does not matter what race you are. Everyone knows struggles," Mason said.
After breakfast, the children participated in educational and interactive programming such as discussion groups and skits.
Following lunch, there was a special Harambee African dance illustrating unity and expression. Special guest speakers from local churches and a dramatization also contributed to the message of the day.
"We realize we still have struggles and problems, but we always know we have hope," Mason said.
He reinforced the goal of Laughlin Memorial Chapel as teaching children that they can indeed make a difference.
MLK day events continued at Wheeling Jesuit University where Ohio County school students who were local winners in the YWCA's annual Martin Luther King essay contest presented their written reflections, along with song and dance performances by area youth groups.
Meanwhile, at Bethany College, Underground Railroad Museum curator John Mattox addressed students, faculty and staff in the Agostino Room of Benedum Commons.
Leading up to Mattox's presentation, students will had the opportunity to honor King and his life's work.
At noon on Thursday, West Virginia Northern Community College will welcome Pittsburgh actor Gregory Gibson Kenney, who will portray King in his one-man show, "I Had a Dream: A Conversation with a Friend," in the B&O Building auditorium at the downtown Wheeling campus. A light lunch will be served.
The program is open to the public, and those planning to attend should inform Ida Williams, student activities program coordinator, by calling 304-214-8917 or emailing her at iwilliams@wvncc. edu by noon Wednesday.