SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – On January 17, 2022, people from all over the Ozarks will gather to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It will start at 9 a.m. outside the Jordan Valley Ice Park. The Springfield NAACP will march to Park Central Square to follow the theme of “creating the beloved community.”

Dee Ogilvy, an executive committee member for the Springfield NAACP, is helping organize the event.

“The Martin Luther King holiday is a reminder every year of the message that love, peace, equity is all together,” Ogilvy said. “We have a great community in Springfield. It’s a wonderful place, but we can all do better. We need to create our community, make it more inclusive, more diverse, which is happening now. We have people immigrating here from many countries.”

Last year’s event happened virtually because of COVID-19.

Today’s march will go down Trafficway to Kimbrough then head north to the Jordan Valley Community Health Center parking lot. From there, people will walk south on Jefferson, turn right on Park Central and stop at the Square.

Ogilvy says MLK Day reminds her chapter of how the state can do better.

“We need to make Missouri a better place to live and make all of Missouri a bigger community with inclusivity and diversity,” Ogilvy said. “We’re all brothers and sisters and we need to reach out to the person beside us and create those communities.”

In the past, the march would’ve ended at the Gillioz Theatre. But, Ogilvy says the NAACP wants everybody to stay safe and gather outside. The program at the Square will focus on rallying together as a community.

“We need everyone to reach out to people that might be different or people that are struggling,” Ogilvy said. “Create a community. Start with one or two people and just keep making that community bigger and bigger until we spread the word of justice for all.”

The event will also touch on the importance of voting rights.

“There’s a lot of controversy about voter rights in this country,” Ogilvy said. “That’s another community we all need to rally around is, we all have the right to vote in this country and we hope people use that.”

Ogilvy encourages people who march to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Also part of Springfield’s MLK Day celebration will be a vaccine clinic at Pitts Chapel from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., for people who are 12 and older.