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MLK Cincinnati Organizers: It's Not Just A Celebration, It's A Call To Action

Ann Thompson
Marchers walk east on Fifth Street toward The Taft Theater where the 2017 program was held.

"If Not Now, When?" the theme of Monday's Cincinnati MLK civil rights march, prayer service and commemorative celebration, focuses on Dr. King's message of justice and equality while looking at the challenges of today.

Spokeswoman Christina Brown says, "It's not just a celebratory event, it's a call to action."

Hundreds of people are expected to gather at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Freedom Center for brief remarks and prayers before marching to Fountain Square for an interfaith prayer service. A program at Music Hall begins at noon.

Dr. Littisha Bates, associate professor of sociology at UC, is the 2018 keynote speaker. Other parts of the program include a performance by the MLK Chorale, an original poem from WordPlay Cincy Scribes, and special recognition of retired Judge Nathaniel Jones.

Social media will play a big role with #MLKNowOrNever. Brown says, "In April we'll be assembling a group of well-respected scholars in the city to do a more analytical deep dive into where our city is the years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr."

She says Cincinnati did have an uprising after the assassination.