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Published: Saturday, 1/15/2005

Children are encouraged to attend 4th unity festival

Toledo Mayor Jack Ford and University of Toledo President Daniel Johnson extended invitations to schoolchildren yesterday to attend the fourth annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Unity Celebration on Monday.

The mayor and Mr. Johnson, along with members of their staffs who serve on the city Board of Community Relations, made the announcement in a small assembly at King Elementary School, 1415 Lawrence Ave.

The youths were urged to get a parent, grandparent, or older sibling to bring them and march in the procession. Schools are closed Monday in honor of Mr. King. The day's theme is "Make It a Day On, Not a Day Off!"

The annual event is slated for 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday at UT's Savage Hall. It will feature an International Parade of Nations, with participants from religious, political, community, labor, and business organizations, and choir performances.

Seven local organizations and individuals will receive awards, and four Toledo Public Schools students will present one of Mr. King's famous speeches.

The unity celebration is free to the public. It is being sponsored by UT, Bowling Green State University, and the United Auto Workers Region 2B. There will be a free community luncheon immediately afterward.

Mr. Ford told students that Mr. King "was a man who promoted peace, service to others, and moral leadership."

A nonviolent champion of civil rights, Mr. King was born on Jan. 15, 1929, and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

In a related event, State Sen. Ray Miller (D., Columbus) will be the guest speaker at a King commemoration by the Medical College of Ohio on Jan. 25 in the Dana Conference Center, 3110 Glendale Ave. The 6 p.m. event is free and open to the public.

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