Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Longview usually is celebrated with a parade and march as well as a church service with multiple speakers. However, COVID-19 concerns have canceled this year’s events.

A virtual church service will be streamed at noon Monday from Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Longview. The event will be broadcast on the church’s Facebook page.

The Longview Area Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the Longview Clergy Coalition are hosting the virtual service. The Rev. Lamar Jones said the service also will be streamed on the Facebook pages of those two organizations.

Alliance President and Parkview Baptist Church Senior Pastor LaDarian Brown said he considered the safety of those who would attend the service in the decision to hold the event virtually.

“For as long as I can remember, this service has always been highly attended,” he said. “In my personal opinion, it is not safe to have such a large gathering during a time such as this.”

City of Longview spokesman Richard Yeakley said there are no MLK Day events this year planned at city facilities.

A celebration typically is held each year at Broughton Recreation Center, and the annual parade also ends at the facility.

Elsewhere, the NAACP of Harrison County has canceled annual Martin Luther King banquet/Freedom Fund events in Marshall because of COVID-19. The day-long celebration consists of a parade, youth talent show and evening banquet.

And the Carthage Courtesy Club also decided to cancel its annual MLK Day celebration because of the pandemic.

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Courtney Stern is a public safety reporter covering a wide range of topics. She grew up in Baltimore and later earned a journalism degree from the University of Miami. Stern moved to East Texas from Iowa with her husband and two dogs, Pebbles and Bam Bam.