CARE Rockbridge marches for justice in annual parade down Lexington’s Main Street

CARE RockbridgeIn its third year, the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Parade sponsored by the Community Anti-Racism Effort (CARE) of Rockbridge County’s has become part of historic Lexington’s culture.

The theme for the Jan. 21 parade is “We March for Justice.” As it has in the past, CARE is featuring work by young artists with area connections in publicity efforts for the event.

Parade t-shirts sport a design by Emily Hellwig, a senior at Rockbridge County High School whose work was chosen from a collection of submissions by students of RCHS art teacher Lori Apgar. Amira Hegazy, a Washington and Lee University alumna currently pursuing her masters at the Art Institute of Chicago, designed the parade poster for the third time since CARE first organized the community event in 2017.

“I employed a continuous line technique to depict MLK on the t-shirt,” Hellwig said. “This technique is suited to honor the legacy of MLK, whose impact on society never ceases,” she explained.

Hegazy also worked to highlight the legacy of King’s social justice work in the poster publicizing this year’s event with an image of paraders that harkens back to the historic marches of the Civil Rights Era. “The design of the poster was inspired by the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965,” she said. “The first three lines of people on the poster are drawn directly from composite images of the marches. Reflecting on their courage to face opposition in the fight for civil rights, I wanted to evoke them as models for our continuing efforts towards the same goal. They appear as merely outlines, paradigms for us as we work toward a more just future,” she explained.

The two previous CARE parades have turned out hundreds of marchers to fill tiny Lexington’s Main Street with a rich display of the community’s diversity from area university and high school students to local religious leaders, sports groups, singing groups, parents with children in strollers, and even local dog owners with canine pals in tow.

“The CARE MLK Parade has been an influential part of my high school years—enough to make a special appearance in my personal essay for college applications,” Hellwig said, explaining why she joined the t-shirt design competition. “I vividly remember being overwhelmed with the power and love I could feel in the warm hearts of parade participants these past two years, despite the 20-degree winter weather,” she added.

Following the parade, CARE will serve participants hot cocoa donated by the local chapter of the National Organization for Women, just as they have in past years. This year cold marchers will also be invited to warm up over a free, post-parade soup lunch at nearby Lexington Presbyterian Church. “It’s good to have more persons involved in the organizing, especially the youth along with other segments of the Lexington community,” said CARE President Rev. Reginald A. Early, noting that “Dr. King would be pleased to see such diversity.”

CARE also invites participants to drop by a sign-painting party on Sunday, January 13 and create their own “works of art” honoring Dr. King to carry on parade day. Poster board, paint supplies, and snacks will be provided at this family-friendly event. This year the event will run from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. in the Community Action Center at the LexRock Democratic Headquarters, 11 S. Jefferson Street in Lexington.

The Third Annual CARE Rockbridge MLK Community Parade steps off at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 21, from the street in front of Randolph Street United Methodist Church, at 118 S. Randolph St., in downtown Lexington.

 
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