The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., is being honored this week at events across the area celebrating the civil rights leader four decades after his assassination.
Toledo's Unity Celebration, the largest local event which has drawn 3,000 people in recent years, will be at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the University of Toledo's Savage Hall on the main campus.
The theme of the event "Strength to Lead, Courage to Love" will focus on King's philosophy of nonviolence, his passion to bring people together, and his strong leadership.
Juanita Greene, executive director of the Toledo Board of Community Relations, which organizes the event each year, said it's important for people in the community to unite and stressed that everyone has been affected by the struggling economy.
"The point is that we're one people going through the same struggles. The only way we get through that struggle is to come together and work together," she said. "It's not just one race suffering, we're all suffering."
Civic, business, union, religious, and education leaders are slated to speak at the event, which also will feature multiple musical performances and presentations of King's speeches.
The eighth annual event is presented by the city and the university.
Other events include:
•The University of Findlay will host a unity walk at 6:30 p.m. from the Trinity Episcopal Church, 128 West Hardin St.
The walk will proceed to Main Street and then to Dorney Plaza for prayer and reflection. A program at the church will follow at 7:10 p.m.
•Bowling Green State University is having a day of service in recognition of the Rev. King's work in the community. About 100 volunteers are expected to work with community agencies during the MLK Service Challenge.
BGSU is one of 92 universities nationwide joining the challenge. The university received a $600 grant from Ohio Campus Compact to provide money to teams of volunteers.
•The Rev. George Cummings, founding pastor of Imani Community Church in San Francisco, will speak at 7 p.m. in Founders Hall at Bluffton University. He has written two books on black theology and has lectured across the country.
•Tiffin University will host a "Fulfilling the Dream" celebration at 7:15 p.m. at Ebenezer United Methodist Church. Janet Quinn-Wyatt, the first black football queen at Scott High School, will be the featured speaker.
•Owens Community College will host the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Basketball Classic.
In partnership with the Ohio Black Media Association and Toledo Public Schools, the event will have four high school basketball boys teams from Ohio and Michigan competing in a doubleheader. All proceeds will benefit Northwest Ohio Black Media Association scholarship initiatives.
The event will begin at 1 p.m. in the Student Health and Activities Center on the college's Perrysburg Township campus. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students.
•The football coach who inspired the movie Remember the Titans will speak at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, at 7 p.m. in the English Chapel.
Herman Boone was hired to coach the newly integrated T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., in 1971 and faced the challenge of leading former rivals from diverse backgrounds. The Titans went on to a
13-0 season and won the Virginia state championship.
His story inspired the 2000 movie that starred Denzel Washington as Mr. Boone.
•An ethnic studies professor at BGSU will be the guest speaker during Defiance College's celebration.
Shannon Cochran will discuss the role of women in the civil rights movement at 8 p.m. in Schomburg Auditorium.
•Bill McGill, senior pastor of the Imani Baptist Temple in Fort Wayne, Ind., will give a firsthand account of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama at 2:15 p.m. in room C200 at Northwest State Community College in Archbold.