Monday, Jan. 20, marks the 37th year since Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a legal holiday in the United States and multiple community organizations have scheduled events to celebrate. Event organizers include the St. Thomas-St. John Interscholastic Athletic Association (IAA), the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 90 and the Ulla Muller Bamboula Dancers and Drummers.
The annual IAA/McDonald’s MLK Jr. Boys and Girls Memorial Invitational Basketball Tournament will kick off on Friday, Jan. 17, at 4 p.m. in the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School gymnasium, and the championship finals will conclude the tournament on Monday, Jan. 20.
Through a partnership between McDonald’s USVI and the St. Thomas-St. John Interscholastic Athletic Association, nine male teams and five female teams will battle it out on the court with the hopes of winning $2,000 for necessary equipment and supplies.
The tournament will host high school teams from Charlotte Amalie, Antilles, All Saints and Ivanna Eudora Kean from St. Thomas; Central High, Educational Complex and Freewill Baptist School from St. Croix; and Bregado Flax and Elmore Stoutt School from the British Virgin Islands. Basketball Commissioner Kenny Todman can be contacted for more information at 340-642-2156.
In the evening of Friday, Jan. 17, the Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas will honor seniors from each of the high schools in St. Thomas and St. John at their annual celebratory service to commemorate MLK’s legacy.
Each student was nominated by their school’s principal or guidance counselor and charged with writing an essay that captures the essence of MLK’s vision. The service will take place at the historic synagogue in Charlotte Amalie at 6 p.m. and the reception that follows will be at the Lilienfeld House, located across the street. The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas can be contacted at 340-774-4312 for more information.
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 90 will be hosting its 5th annual MLK Unity and Service Weekend beginning on Friday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. with a family game night. Events will continue throughout the weekend.
On Saturday, Jan. 18, the public is encouraged to participate in their health and wellness retreat which begins at 6 a.m. and features activities such as an early morning fitness walk with breakfast provided, an 8 a.m. yoga class, an 11 a.m. zumba class, a 1 p.m. bamboula class and a 2 p.m. cycling class. The community is urged to also participate in the health screenings that will be offered onsite by the Department of Health.
On Sunday, Jan. 19, the group will host a veteran’s appreciation and spirit of service luncheon at 1 p.m. to honor veterans and community groups.
On Monday, Jan. 20, the group will conclude the weekend with their day of service and celebration day which offers multiple volunteer opportunities for community groups alongside music and food starting at 8 a.m.
All events will take place in the American Legion Hall in Sub Base. The MLK Unity and Service Weekend organizer Vilma Wallace can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for volunteer opportunities and more information.
Also on Monday morning, the Ulla Muller Bamboula Dancers and Drummers will be hosting a Freedom Walk from Fort Christian Parking Lot to Emancipation Garden. The walk will begin at 7 a.m. The Ulla Muller Bamboula Dance Coordinator and organizer of the walk Leneise Mercer can be contacted at 340-201-5057.