MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Several events are planned to observe Martin Luther King Day across the region.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Banquet celebration begins Sunday night at the Martinsburg Holiday Inn at 4 p.m. During that event, 12 college students from Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties will be awarded $1,000 scholarships. Previous scholarship winners will also reflect on the impact it has had on their lives.

Pierpont Community & Technical College begins a MLK Day of Service at 8 a.m. in the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), featuring remarks by former Pierpont Board of Governors Chairman James Griffin. Griffin is also the chairman of the West Virginia Black Heritage Festival and has seen both sides of the civil rights movement in his life.

“I’m a product of the 60’s, and I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and it seems like the ugly is trying to pop its head up again,” Griffin said.

Pierpont Community & Technical College President Dr. Milan Hayward said the efforts surrounding the day are special, but the spirit of the day is felt on campus all year.

“We work closely with other organizations, other schools, and other colleges, but we’re here to serve; we’re here to get our hands dirty and help make this a better place for everyone,” Hayward said. “That’s what this is about; this is not a one-off.”

The volunteers at Pierpont Community and Technical College have a total of four community projects, including painting interior rooms at the Union Mission, cleaning at the Harrison County Animal Shelter, a vital blood drive at ATCF, and cleaning up sponsorship signs from the Celebration of Lights event.

Hayward said all volunteer spots for the Monday projects are full, but there is a need for volunteers for the service projects planned for February 2.

“I think it goes back to the beloved community that Martin Luther King Jr. referred to,” Hayward said. “We don’t get there by ignoring our neighbors, so the Golden Rule is as important to our work as anything else.”

Griffin will offer his remarks in person and via Zoom Monday morning, beginning at 8 a.m. President Hayward will offer opening remarks, and Griffin will deliver the keynote address.

“Time is something we take for granted, but it’s very valuable,” Griffin said. “Martin Luther King Jr. talked about the fact that time is always right to do the right thing, and I think it’s time for us to do the right thing, and I’m going to be talking to them about time.”

The fifth service project will be held at the Hospice Thrift Shop and the Union Mission on February 2.

“Any of your listeners that are willing and interested can take a look at the Pierpont homepage and register for the community projects on February 2,” Hayward said.

In Morgantown, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., a Unity Breakfast will be held in the Mountainlair Ballrooms. Jeneisha Harris, an activist, a community leader, and the author of “Black Girl, Cry,” is the keynote speaker.

Anitra Hamilton, D. Monongalia, 81, will be awarded the 2024 MLK Achievement Award.