COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and potential armed protests at the State House – the annual King Day at the Dome event went on, virtually.
Organizers opted to hold the event solely online because of concerns over the virus.
They said this year’s event was much needed after all the challenges South Carolinians faced in 2020 and the recent events at the Capitol.
The South Carolina chapter of the NAACP along with other local organizations held the first King Day at the Dome in 2000. They organized it to protests the flying of the Confederate Flag at the South Carolina State House.
Even though this year’s event featured no march through downtown Columbia and rally at the State House – the goal of honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Marin Luther King Jr remained.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said during the virtual event, “I want to encourage you to remain strong. Better days are ahead.”
Monday’s event focused on topics like education, getting more young South Carolinians involved in the political process, criminal justice reform and the health disparities that have come to light due to the pandemic.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said, “Going forward once we overcome COVID-19 and together we eventually will. It’s important for us to address these disparities that make some more vulnerable than others.”
Dr. Bell also encouraged everyone watching the event to get vaccinated for COVID-19 when they are eligible to receive a vaccine.
Rep. Patricia Hanegan (D-District 54) also spoke during the event. She said South Carolina lawmakers will look at passing a hate crime bill in 2021. She said, “Even as the number of hate crimes has risen in South Carolina – this state’s leadership has been non-responsive.”
Organizers said they hope they can hold next year’s event in person at the State House.
You can watch the full event below.