TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLF) -- Several Greater Lafayette organizations are finding ways to safely celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. One West Lafayette church is honoring him with a day of service this Saturday, Jan 16. St. Andrews United Methodist Church leaders will be giving out hundreds of free masks to anyone who wants one.
This event is not only helping serve a need in the community but also helping create a conversation. As organizers hand out masks they're also encouraging people to participate in the Beloved Community Conversations Townhall.
St. Andrews received a $5,000 grant from the Churches Society, which is part of the United Methodist Church. The grant is designed to help financially support creating justice and resilience in communities.
Reverend Annettra Jones, St. Andrews associate pastor, said she wanted to use this money to meet an immediate need, so they decided on a mask giveaway.
But following this event, the church will also be hosting a virtual community conversation on racial justice. Community leaders including the Lafayette and West Lafayette mayors, county officials, education and non-profit leaders will be participating.
"It's a time of division and so what we're seeking to do is bring people together," said Rev. Jones. "We don't care how you vote, we don't care where you worship, we don't care about any of that lets just all come together and have a beloved community conversation."
The topics will focus on how our community leaders plan to create more unity and move forward after last year's local Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
"People have questions," said Rev. Jones. "There have been a lot of closed-door conversations taking place. I thought it was important that we have a public conversation. It's just like a family conversation everybody come to the table, we got some things to talk about."
Everyone is welcome to tune into the live virtual event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day this coming Monday, Jan. 18. It'll start at 6 p.m. on Facebook. And the mask giveaway on Saturday will be held at both the newly renovated West Lafayette Margerum City Hall building and Tecumseh Middle School from noon to 3 p.m.
Purdue University will also be hosting a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Monday, Jan. 18. You can learn more here. The Pastors' Alliance of Greater Lafayette is hosting an MLK Jr. Commemoration Service on Sunday, Jan. 17 from 4 to 6 p.m. Click here for more information.
Beloved Community Lafayette will also continue its conversations throughout the week after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. You can keep up with the events by following the group's Facebook page.