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Annual county MLK Walk returns to Elgin

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    Joe Watson, Jason Trigg and Joel Reed of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Eureka Lodge #30 of the Masons led the way in the 30th Annual Bastrop County MLK Holiday Commission Walk last year in Bastrop. File photo
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    From left to right: MLK walk planning committee members Byron Mitchell, Bettye Lofton, Elsie Williams and Dr. Marilyn Jones stand with Elgin Mayor Chris Cannon (back) holding the city’s proclamation for the 31st annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Walk during the Elgin City Council meeting on January 9. Photo by Julianne Hodges

The 31st Annual Bastrop County Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission Walk for Peace, Justice and Equality will be held here on January 20th in Elgin.

The theme continues to be “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On... Not a Day Off!” The annual walk rotates between the cities of Bastrop, Elgin and Smithville.

The walk starts at the Elgin Depot Museum, 14 Depot Street, at 10 a.m. and will end at the Booker T. Washington Elementary School at 510 Martin Luther King Boulevard, where a tribute will be held starting at 11 a.m.

“It is important that we continue to educate our youth and future generations about the civil rights struggle that Dr. King and others led,” said Bettye Lofton, the Elgin coordinator of the event. “He gave the ultimate sacrifice to pave the way for the freedoms so many of us enjoy today. It is only fitting that a hero such as King be honored. The annual walk is our way in Bastrop County of helping educate our youth, who are our future.”

“The City of Smithville is honored to have been a part of the countywide MLK celebration since its beginning,” said Bill Gordon, a Smithville City Council member and committee member. “As the walk rotates each year from city to city, we participate in honoring Dr. King’s legacy and will be the proud host in 2021.”

During this year’s event, donations are sought for graduating seniors attending schools in Bastrop County, including Bastrop High School, Cedar Creek High School, Colorado River Collegiate Academy, Elgin High School, McDade High School and Smithville High School. Last year, the Commission joined together with scholarship committees in the county in a joint effort to assist the county’s youth obtain higher education. Scholarship can be awarded to students who apply to colleges and trade schools.

Student speakers from each of these schools will speak on the importance of Dr. King’s life. Students will be joined by elected officials from throughout Bastrop County including Bastrop County Commissioner Donna Snowden, Bastrop Mayor Connie Schroeder, Elgin Mayor Chris Cannon and Smithville Mayor Scott Saunders. Music and other tributes will be a part of the program, which will conclude with refreshments for attendees. Choir members from all churches in Elgin have been invited to sing during the program.

The Elgin Depot Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 20 to allow those attending the walk an opportunity to view the Bastrop Freedom Colonies exhibit before it closes. This exhibit identifies the colonies and settlement communities that were established in Bastrop County after the emancipation of Texas slaves in 1865.

The Elgin Digital Learning Team and the Code Squad are also proud to support the walk and rememberence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Activities will be available to create art, doodles, writings and video to commerate this day and the legacy of those that have fought for peace and equality.

Scholarship donations will be collected at the walk and can be mailed to the Bastrop County Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission Scholarship Fund, P. O. Drawer X, Bastrop, Texas 78602. Please state whether you’d like to designate the funds to specific schools or if the donation should be equally divided among the six schools.

For more information, contact Bettye Lofton at 512-963-2721 or Jill Strube at 512-237-3282, Ext. 2109.