For MLK events, Reston Community Center recommends patrons get vaccinated and boosted

Reston Community Center will move forward with a planned 37th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day with its 37th annual birthday celebration on Jan. 16 and 17.

After taking a hybrid approach last year, this year’s festivities will take place entirely in person at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road), but there will be some public health measures in place, as COVID-19 cases keep climbing in Fairfax County.

Like other Fairfax County public facilities, RCC continues to require that everyone wear a face mask when indoors, except when actively eating or drinking. Proof of a COVID-19 vaccination won’t be mandatory, but the organization “strongly urges” all attendees to be vaccinated and boosted, according to a news release.

In addition, the community lunch scheduled to follow a keynote speech by author and political commentator Heather McGhee on Jan. 17 will feature individual, contained meals, rather than a buffet as in past years.

The event also won’t include a planned live performance by the Reston Community Orchestra, which will instead make other to-be-announced arrangements for presenting its music, RCC says.

“We are carefully returning to a Reston Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration where we can come together as a community to honor Dr. King’s legacy,” RCC Board of Governors Chair Beverly Cosham said. “Now more than ever, it is important to ask ourselves ‘are we keeping the promise?’ We will remember the human rights for which Dr. King laid down his life and replenish our spirits with those who share the passion for justice that fuels the movement toward a truly free society.”

Tickets are required for the community lunch and keynote address. They cost $5 for Reston residents and employees, and $10 for other community members. They are available at the CenterStage Box Office or by calling 703-476-4500.

The full calendar of events is below:

Sunday, January 16

Baratunde Thurston

Writer, Comedian, Activist

2:00 p.m.

RCC Hunters Woods – the CenterStage

$15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston (tickets sold through the CenterStage Box Office)

Baratunde Thurston holds space for hard and complex conversations with his blend of humor, wisdom and compassion. He is an Emmy-nominated TV host who has worked for The Onion, produced for The Daily Show, advised the Obama White House and written The New York Times bestseller How To Be Black. As the executive producer and host of How to Citizen with Baratunde, which Apple named one of its favorite podcasts of 2020, Baratunde also received the Social Impact Award at the 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. Baratunde is unique in his ability to integrate and synthesize themes of race, culture, politics and technology to explain where our nation is and where we can take it. It is recommended that children under 16 be accompanied by an adult.

Monday, January 17

Keynote Address by Heather McGhee followed by Community Lunch

11:00 a.m.

RCC Hunters Woods: the CenterStage and Community Room

$5 Reston/$10 Non-Reston (tickets sold through the CenterStage Box Office)

A renowned expert on the American economy, Heather McGhee is one of the most brilliant and influential thinkers exploring inequality today. Both her viral TED talk and her instant New York Times bestseller The Sum of Us reveal the devastating true cost of racism – not just for people of color, but for everyone. Deeply stirring, intelligent and compassionate, McGhee’s talks offer us an actionable roadmap during one of the most critical – and most troubled – periods in history. Following the keynote address, a boxed hot lunch will be provided in the RCC Community Room. Masks must be worn unless actively eating or drinking.

Especially for Youth

10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

RCC Hunters Woods

6 – 12 Years Old. Free. Registration Required. Reg. #704750-2A

You may register your school-age child (first to sixth grade) to participate in activities at RCC. Children must be registered in advance and no onsite registration will be available on the day of the event. Children will rotate through a series of activities, including an age-appropriate video and arts and crafts. All activities will be based on the history of Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement. A self-contained lunch will be provided.

An exhibit of artwork made by students from Reston’s elementary schools will also be on display at RCC Hunters Woods throughout January.

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