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TOL PR 2016-01-07 Annual MLK March Town of Leesburg News Release For Immediate Release Media Contact: Betsy Arnett, Public Information Officer barnett@leesburgva.gov  703-771-2734 24th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March and Celebration Scheduled for Monday, January 18, 2016 Leesburg, VA (January 7, 2016) – The Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March and Celebration will be held on Monday, January 18, 2016. The theme of this year’s celebration is “The Strength to Love: Where Do We Go From Here?” Keynote speaker will be poet and author May Rihani. The celebration will begin at 9:00am with a “Love to Unity” Community Dialogue at the Douglass Community Center (405 East Market Street, Leesburg). The Community Dialogue will be followed at 10:00am by a special morning program at the Douglass Community Center for those who are unable to participate in the march. The annual Loudoun County MLK March will begin with an invocation on the grounds of the Loudoun County Courthouse in downtown Leesburg at 10:15am. At 10:30am, marchers will proceed from the courthouse to the Douglass Community Center. Individuals, families, churches, and community organizations are invited to participate and walk together during the March. East Market Street, from King Street to Church Street, will be closed at 9:30am in preparation for the March. Once the March begins, the eastbound lanes of East Market Street, from Church Street to the Douglass Community Center, will be closed to traffic. Cross streets will reopen once the March has cleared each intersection. Drivers should follow police direction and be prepared for minor delays. Following the March, refreshments will be served at the Douglass Community Center. At 11:45am, the film, “The March,” directed and narrated by James Blue, will be shown, followed by music and inspirational performances, highlighted by a keynote address by author May Rihani. May Rihani is a pioneer in girls’ education and a tireless advocate of women’s rights. She served as co-chair of the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI) between 2008 and 2010. Her seminal book, Keeping the Promise, is a framework for advancing girls’ education that is used by global organizations. A native of Lebanon, Ms. Rihani has published three books of poetry in Arabic. Her latest book, Cultures Without Borders: From Beirut to Washington, D.C., is a memoir. Attendees to the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration are encouraged to participate in a canned food drive to benefit Loudoun Interfaith Relief. This local charity has a special need for nonperishable meat products. Drop off area for the food drive will be at Douglass Community Center from 8:00 am to 1:30 pm. The founding sponsors for this event are the Loudoun NAACP, Douglass Alumni Association, Bluemont Concert Series, and the Baha’i Community of Loudoun. Individuals, families, schools, businesses, civic and religious organizations are all welcome to participate. For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/MLKMarchLeesburg, call 540-955-8186 or email themarch08@yahoo.com. # # #