King Center kicks off week of MLK remembrance

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Story highlights

  • The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday promotes community service
  • The King Center hosts a week of public events

(CNN)This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. In recognition, The King Center in Atlanta on Tuesday kicked off a week of events, including its annual Salute to Greatness Awards gala on Saturday.

"That event helps us raise funds so we can continue work in nonviolence," said Carmen Coya-van Duijn, director of communications at The King Center.
    King is remembered as one of America's prominent advocates of nonviolence and racial equality.
    "The Poor People's Campaign. Fair housing. Literacy. He had to deal with a lot of things. There was more to it than just fighting inequality." Coya van-Duijn said.

    This year's theme is 'King: His Voice, His teachings, His love for Humanity'

    "We want people to recharge and re-engage with humanity. It is so important that we reconnect with that. We have lost that connection," Coya van-Duijn said.
    The signature event of the week, Beloved Community Talks, on Monday, deals specifically with the role of men in bridging the racial divide.
    Other notable events include an interactive book reading for children hosted by King's only grandchild, Yolanda Renee King. Students also have an opportunity to engage with King's family members at The King Center. And the MLK Gospel Extravaganza is free and open to the public.
    King's life achievements have been honored with a national holiday (January 15), public buildings named after him and the first memorial on the National Mall in Washington dedicated to an African-American.
    The Washington memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
    Coya-van Duijn said King wouldn't have wanted any recognition.
    "It was never about him. It was about one body moving together for one common goal. We challenge people to better themselves and raise the standards."