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Speaking during the 2020 event commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Emma Cook, chairman of the planning committee announces last years scholarship recipient. Although this year’s ceremony has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, Cook says the scholarship will be given to a deserving high school student.

With COVID-19 numbers still on the rise, Itawamba County’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration has been canceled for 2021.

Organized each year by the Itawamba King Committee, this would have been the 21st year for the event. Honoring King’s life, the ceremony included guest speakers, singers, and musicians who gathered at ICC’s W.O. Benjamin Fine Arts Auditorium for inspirational messages and songs.

Emma Cook, the event’s creator and founding member of the planning committee, told The Times that safety from the coronavirus is a priority at this point.

“It is sad that we won’t be able to meet this year,” Cook said. “But we want everyone to stay safe and out of harm’s way.”

Throughout the last two decades, Cook said the committee has made strides to incorporate the three elements that Dr. King felt were instrumental to the effectiveness of his events: a peaceful march, an insightful message, and special music. Although it is held outdoors, their annual march around downtown Fulton is also canceled.

She added that COVID-19 may have halted their annual plans, but it will not interfere with their annual scholarship presentation. Each year the committee gives a deserving high school student a scholarship in Dr. King’s honor.

“The scholarship is still a very important part of what we do,” Cook said. “We will be presenting it to a deserving student, just not in a formal ceremony.”

Cook said they are still accepting donations to benefit this year and future scholarships. Anyone who would like to donate can call 662-891-4550.

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