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After the Richmond's annual Unity Breakfast last year, many of the nearly 300 attendees took part in a march through downtown sponsored by the local NAACP branch to commemorate the many marches that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led to advance civil rights.

After several years of the Richmond Human Rights Commission hosting the annual Unity Breakfast on Martin Luther King Day, the event will be absent this year due to a lack of board members who would help plan the event.

According to City Clerk Lisa Cassity, the board is short three members, which HRC Chair Pat Reister said is the main reason for the cancellation.

“We lost members on the commission, and didn’t have the number of people to organize the event and get it going this year so we decided to not have it this year, and hopefully pick it up this next year,” Reister said Monday.

Reister said the event has been hosted for the five years that he has served on the board.

He told the Register the board decided with a lack of members and since those remaining the board that had not organized the event before, it was best to hold off.

“We felt we didn’t have the resources to organize it and give a good breakfast to the community so we decided to not continue it this year,” he said.

However, Reister reported new members are to be appointed to the commission at Tuesday evening's commission meeting, and thinks the board will then be in good shape with an adequate number to serve.

In regards to next year, he believes that it will continue.

“We have always enjoyed having the Unity Breakfast and the community involvement has just been wonderful so I think we are in a good place to get it back the next year,” he said.

And although the breakfast is on pause for 2020, the local NAACP chapter has offered to host a march at 5 p.m. and a service at 6 p.m. the Monday of the Martin Luther King holiday.

Mayor Robert Blythe, local chapter president of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and pastor of the church hosting the march, said it would continue as it has been held in previous years.

He said hosting the event in the evening allows for people who perhaps have to work that day a chance to experience unity and celebrate.

According to Blythe, he enjoys the march event as it sees a cross section of the community including Eastern Kentucky University officials, seniors, children and The Richmond Teen Center to name a few.

“It gives an opportunity to come together working with EKU, the HRC and city in other ways,” he said.

A service that follows the march at the church will include a theme of “What did Martin see from the mountain top,” according to Blythe, with four age groups being represented to give their perspective.

The march will begin at 5 p.m. on Jan. 20. Those who wish to participate should congregate at the First Baptist Church at 302 Francis Street in Richmond on the Collins Street side at 4:45 p.m.

Reach Taylor Six at 624-6623 or follow her on Twitter at @TaylorSixRR.

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