Several events planned for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Several programs and services honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in connection with the holiday in his honor will be held in the coming week.

¯Marietta College will be closed Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. While classes won’t be held, students and employees are encouraged to participate in one of the service activities organized through the Office of Student Life from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The programs will be on-campus and in the community.

One of the projects will be GoPacks, a community-based organization that provides local elementary school children with nutritious food options for weekends and school breaks. Volunteers will meet in The Gathering Place at 9 a.m. Monday to pack 100 boxes of food for children to take home during spring break, as well as 100 “Snow Day” food bags.

Other direct service projects that Marietta students, faculty and staff may volunteer for include: spending time with children and administrative work at the Boys & Girls Club; helping Marietta Main Street take down and store downtown holiday decorations; helping with a variety of jobs at the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley; assisting with facility and administrative support at Peoples Bank Theatre; and more.

¯ Zion Baptist Church in Parkersburg will be honoring the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 3 p.m. Sunday at the church at the corner of Eighth and Clay streets.

The theme is: “We Are All One “Humanity.” The main speaker will be West Virginia University at Parkersburg president Chris Gilmer.

¯ In Parkersburg, West Virginia University at Parkersburg will hold a program commemorating the life of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday in the college theater (room 1305), and it will be streamed live at the Jackson County Center in room 206. The program is sponsored by WVU-P’s Social Justice Committee and is free and open to the public.

The program will feature Adrienne Belafonte Biesemeyer, oldest daughter of singer, actor and social justice activist Harry Belafonte as guest speaker. Belafonte was one of King’s closest confidants, marching beside the reverend and serving as key coordinator for many civil rights events including the March on Washington.

Biesemeyer is a licensed professional counselor and former chair of the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Counseling. She currently serves as the designer and director of the Center for International Medicine and Cultural Concerns at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg as well as executive director of the Anir Foundation. Started in 1997 by Biesemeyer and her daughter, the Anir Foundation is a volunteer program that serves south African and Caribbean communities by focusing primarily on family assistance in regards to housing, education, HIV, AIDS and STD education and prevention, other health-related issues and cultural heritage preservation.