By Barney Blakeney
The 20th annual King Day at the Dome will be held January 20 at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia. This year’s theme is “We Vote, We Count, Our Voices Matter”. The event hosted by the S.C. NAACP Conference of Branches that began in 2000 to protest the Confederate Flag flying over the S.C. Statehouse Capitol building in the past has drawn more than 50,000 participants. The number of those attending has decreased over the years. Some 3,000 attendees are expected to participate this year, said conference President Brenda C. Murphy.
Former Vice President Joe Biden tops the list of Democratic Primary candidates who have committed to speak at the 10 a.m. Statehouse rally. Other committed candidates include Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Tom Steyer. Murphy said the candidates will be asked to address specific issues and not to merely make campaign speeches. There will not be a featured speaker, she said.
The annual event will begin with an 8:30 a.m. prayer service at Zion Baptist Church, 801 Washington St. Keynote speaker at the prayer service will be Aaron McCoy Pastor, Mt. Vernon Missionary Baptist Church. The line up to march to the Statehouse will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the rally at the Statehouse will begin 10 a.m.
Greetings at the rally will be offered by the Hon. Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina; the Hon. James Clyburn Congressman 6th Congressional District; Rabbi Jonathan Case, Beth Shalom Synagogue; the Hon. Mr. Spencer Scott, Most Worshipful Grand Master Prince Hall Grand Lodge of South Carolina; Sis. Linda Owens Neal, Grand Worthy Matron Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star; Mrs. Sue Berkowitz, Executive Director South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center; J.T. McLawhorn, President and CEO Columbia Urban League; Mr. Tyler McBride, President South Carolina Youth & College Division NAACP; Charles W. Davenport, Imperial Potentate Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order of Noble Mystic Shrine of North and South America; Sherry East, President South Carolina Education Association; the Hon. Rep. Jerry Govan, Chair South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus; and Holley Ulbrich, Co-President League of Women Voters of South Carolina.
While several contingents of individual attendees will travel to the capitol for the event, no local NAACP branch officially are sponsoring transportation. For more information, contact the State Conference at 803-754-4584.