Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event was limited to public gathering protocols.
Mayoral Aide Lavar Click emceed the annual MLK ceremony and Bishop Neal Boyd gave the opening prayer. Mayor Sarno provided greetings and read a proclamation declaring Monday, January 18, 2021 Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the City of Springfield. State Representative Bud Williams provided greetings on behalf of the Commonwealth and City Council President Marcus Williams gave greetings on behalf of the City Council and provided remarks. Desmond Ortiz, senior at the High School of Commerce was this year’s youth speaker.
Springfield’s own Vanessa Ford provided the musical selection – Lift Every Voice and Sing.
Mayor Sarno stated, “Even though we cannot have our usual annual event to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we still want to hold a small ceremony and flag raising, within the COVID-19 public health guidelines, to honor his legacy – which in these challenging and surreal times we need more than ever. I want to thank my Mayoral Aide and Coach Lavar Click for helping to coordinate this event. On behalf of the City of Springfield we are looking forward to holding our usual gathering and ceremony for this event next year, once we defeat this COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic – and we will.”
In addition, State Representative Bud Williams provided the swearing in ceremony for Bishop Talbert Swan as President for the Springfield Chapter of the NAACP.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the event proceeded outside to raise the MLK Flag in front of City Hall. Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood was in attendance for the flag raising.