BLOOMINGTON – Mayor John Hamilton invites the community to the 2023 City of Bloomington Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration on Monday, January 16, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. The reception and program are free and open to the public.
The celebration begins with a reception at 6 p.m followed by remarks beginning at 7 p.m. Speakers include Deputy Mayor Mary Catherine Carmichael, members of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission, and others. With the theme, “Keep Knocking,” the event will feature a keynote presentation by Georgia Representative Park Cannon. There will be a reception with appetizers at 6 p.m.
Keynote speaker Park Cannon is Georgia’s youngest State Representative and one of two openly queer lawmakers in the Georgia General Assembly. She represents House District 58, which encompasses a diverse cross-section of Atlanta. The Democratic lawmaker recently made national headlines when she was unlawfully arrested and removed from the Georgia Capitol after she knocked on the door to the Republican governor’s office during his signing of SB 202.
This restrictive law limits voting rights in the state. Republicans rushed the bill through both chambers of the legislature a few hours before he signed it into law. It has been harshly criticized nationwide for disenfranchising Black voters, is being challenged in court, and is being dubbed “Jim Crow 2.0.”
Rep. Cannon champions a range of social justice causes, and her legislative efforts focus on education, jobs, and health care. She seeks to stop the erosion of affordability for basic needs, which she believes are the foundations of social stability. She also devotes her legislative work to protecting Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens: women and children, the elderly, and the LGBTQ+ community. She has worked to address maternal mortality rates and the HIV epidemic in Georgia, housing affordability, and extending protections to victims of family violence and sexual assault.
She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Linguistics and a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and minored in Women’s and Gender Studies. She has been honored for her service to numerous organizations, including SisterSong, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, NOBEL Women, the League of Women Voters, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), and the Atlanta NAACP.
The event will also feature music and dance performances by the Indiana University African American Choral Ensemble (directed by Dr. Raymond Wise), the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department, World Music drumming from Fairview Elementary students, and the presentation of the Commission’s MLK Legacy Award.
Major event underwriters include the City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department, Indiana University, Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs, Cook Inc., Griffin Realty, and Lola B. Debro and Family. Event sponsors include Bloomington Montessori School, Indiana University Credit Union, Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington, Old National Bank, the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Bloomington, and the Monroe County Government.
For a list of Martin Luther King Day of Service volunteer opportunities and other activities, visit bloomingtonvolunteernetwork.org/mlk or contact Michael Shermis, Special Projects Coordinator, at 812.349.3471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Representative Park Cannon at parkcannon58.com
Read more about the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission at bloomington.in.gov/boards/mlk.