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Hundreds set to line up in St. Louis to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The event will allow people to register to vote, get fresh produce, get tested and vaccinated for COVID-19.

ST. LOUIS — Hundreds of vehicles will travel through St. Louis to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Committee of St. Louis will hold its 53rd annual observation event to celebrate the beloved minister and civil rights pioneer and to unify as King strived to do.

“It's going to be a day of driving into resources with social change. As we drive out racism. As we drive out poverty. All those things that Dr. King wanted to make sure the beloved community was about," said “Mister Gary” Boyd, program coordinator.

Instead of thousands marching the streets in King's honor as they normally do on MLK Day, Boyd said community groups will wheel through the city beginning at 9:30 a.m. from the old courthouse downtown on 4th Street.

While COVID changed the plans, Boyd added it will be one of the things they tackle along the way.

The organization will partner with Affinia Healthcare and CareSTL Health to provide free COVID testing and vaccinations on the holiday.

"We're trying to see to it that we don't lose any other lives behind COVID. We're asking people to come and be a part of this. We want people to mask up, but we want y’all to stay in your car," Boyd said

NAACP will facilitate voter registration which Boyd mentioned was a request from the King family. A social change committee will help push out poverty by providing fresh produce.

Boyd said the event is an open invitation to all people, which reflects King’s dream.

“We got Black people, white people, Jews, Gentiles, gays, straights,” he said. “We want them there because it's a place for everyone.”

The MLK “Votercade” will kick off at the Historical Old Courthouse downtown at 9 a.m. with brief remarks from community leaders.

Cars will then drive through Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard in north St. Louis to Vashon High School on Cass Avenue where they can register to vote, get tested for COVID or vaccinated.

Free COVID service will also be provided by CARE STL Health.

People along the route are invited to display highlights and signage in support of the theme: “Unity in the Community.”

The Urban League is also holding its Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service at 11 a.m.on Monday. The drive-thru event will be held at the Urban League headquarters on 1408 N. Kingshighway.

The Urban League will be giving out masks, sanitizer and vaccination information. The group will also help provide around 2,000 local families with food.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones will also be in attendance.