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MLK celebration tugs at Griffin's heart

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Saturday, January 18, 2014

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City Councilman Wayne Griffin took the oath last Tuesday for another four-year term. Griffin has organized the MLK Celebration in Greer for 12 years.

Jim Fair

City Councilman Wayne Griffin took the oath last Tuesday for another four-year term. Griffin has organized the MLK Celebration in Greer for 12 years.

The inspiration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has shined a light in Greer City Councilman Wayne Griffin’s heart for decades.

Tributes and church services will be held across the United States to commemorate King's 85th birthday on Monday, a federal holiday.

Griffin has organized the MLK Day celebration in Greer for the past 12 years. Monday’s celebration at Greer City Hall is a lunch and program of youth and adults through words, dance, song and multimedia presentations.

“Dr. King inspired me,” Griffin said. “We want to assure young people know the history, not just that there was a lot of bloodshed. There was also the non-violent approach.”

Griffin said he believes this generation of youth is realizing King’s message of change through non-violence. “I think some of the young people are getting it now. Inroads are being made.”

Monday’s program also recognizes individuals’ contribution to the community. “They (youth) don’t often get the praise they deserve,” Griffin said. “When they get a standing ovation they feel they are living the dream, just like Martin Luther King.”

Earl Simmons, pastor of Maple Creek Baptist Church, will be the keynote speaker. Judge Henry Mims was scheduled but became ill, Griffin said  Sammy Dotson will emcee. Dramatic interpretations of speeches by Martin Luther King and poems by Maya Angelou will be performed by students from the Phillis Wheatley theater class.

The cost for the lunch and entertainment has remained $5 for years. “I want to make sure people can attend. Some are having hard times. Thanks to Greer Memorial Hospital, Ovations and the City we can keep the costs down,” Griffin said.

The annual celebration is a labor of love for Griffin. “I can feel the spirit, it’s uplifting. I do this because it’s something whole-hearted that I believe in.”

MLK Celebration

• Monday, 11:30 a.m.

• Greer City Hall

• $5 admission plus one or more non-perishable food items to help Greer Relief

• Information: Call 864-848-2192

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