Local organizations to host Martin Luther King Love Train

By Oreoluwa Ojewuyi, Staff Reporter

On Saturday, Jan. 16, several Southern Illinois organizations will be hosting a Martin Luther King Love Train.

The event was created by the Women’s Center, Healing Illinois, Carbondale United and The Southern Unity Coalition. 

The train will be a procession of vehicles starting at 11 a.m. in Harrisburg continuing through Marion and Carbondale before ending at the Murphysboro Soccer Field. 


Organizer Nancy Maxwell said community members can donate snacks and water. Participants are encouraged to wear a mask and not attend the event if they are sick or have been exposed to someone who has contracted the COVID-19 virus. 

“We will have masks and hand sanitizer at each spot. We will also have markers so people can decorate their cars,” Maxwell said. “You have the opportunity to get out of your car in Murphysboro if you choose. There will be speakers and we will give the audience the opportunity to speak at that time. This is an effort to try and unite the 618.” 

Organizers were inspired to create multiple “Stop the Violence” events following the deaths of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor who were victims of police brutality that sparked months of protests and demonstrations. 

 “We did the love train on December 5th and it was a huge success,” Maxwell said. “There was so much unity and love at that event and we plan to do it again. We thought that Saturday we can do [a] MLK train and repeat the previous route we did with the love train in December.”

Maxwell has been a part of organizing multiple events to bring the Southern Illinois community together. 

The Martin Luther King train will hopefully start the realization of the dreams that Dr. King outlined in his “I Have a Dream” speech Maxwell said. 

“We still have segregation but it’s more discreet. Most of the jobs especially in Southern Illinois, are held by other races besides Black people. We don’t own any business hardly, we don’t own houses. It’s the same issue just existing in a different way,” Maxwell said. 


Maxwell hopes the event will help continue the fight for racial justice, ending violence in the community and will keep the Southern Illinois community aware of the intersectional issues faced in their communities. 

“We are trying to include other areas in 618 and the ultimate goal is to get some unity. I think a lot of the violence is because of [geographical differences]. We welcome any groups to contact me if they want to join our effort or assist us in any way,” Maxwell said. 

Reporter Oreoluwa Ojewuyi can be reached at [email protected] or on twitter @odojewuyi

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