Zeta Phi Beta honors MLK Day with parade and new Day of Service event

Published 9:05 am Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Theta Xi Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta is hosting its annual MLK Jr. Parade on Lafayette Square Saturday, inviting everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities. 

The theme of the parade will be “Living the Dream, it starts with me,” encouraging inclusivity among the community. This year will mark the 35th anniversary of the parade.

The parade will be from 1 p.m. to  2 p.m. and features 8 floats from organizations across the county. The floats will be separated into different divisions to be judged at 11:15 a.m.

With over 70 participants signing up this year to assist with the parade, a new record will be broken for the highest count of participation in the event’s history.

“So this year is different because we’ve got a higher enrollment of over 70 participants,” President of the Theta Xi Zeta Chapter Nicole Johnson said. “We want to make sure that we’re bringing awareness to what Martin Luther King Jr. did for everybody, and we want to make sure that we’re keeping that dream alive by doing the parade.”

Among the parade participants will be five high school bands from in and out of state. Callaway, LaGrange, and Troup County High School will be performing along with two bands visiting from Alabama — LaFayette High School and Loachapoka High School.  

“We’re very excited because we haven’t had the bands perform in the parade in years,” Johnson said. “We’re happy to have them back with us, and it would be great if the community could come out and support the parade and the students.”

Following the parade this year, Johnson added that there will be a new event this year designed to better serve the community called “A Day of Service.” The event will be held from 2 p.m.to 6 p.m. and will consist of giving out basic necessities such as hygiene items and non-perishables to those in need.

Due to communication errors, no organizations were able to officially sign up for the Day of Service event before the provided deadline, but Johnson hopes to spread awareness for next year’s event to be successful. She is still inviting all non-profit organizations to participate in the event by dropping off additional supplies at LaFayette Square or handing them out to show support for the Day of Service. 

“If local businesses that still wish to participate, it could bring non-perishable items, hygiene items, or drop items off on the square, that would be great because anything they donate will go back into the community,” Johnson said.

In addition to providing necessities for the needy, money raised from the parade will be put toward providing scholarships for graduating Troup County students. 

“The money that we raise for the parade is strictly for scholarships, and we don’t use that money for anything else,” Johnson said. “We want the money to go right back into the community for our Troup County seniors, so it would be great if the community could support that.”