COLUMBUS, Ohio – Communities across central Ohio mark the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday.

All government offices and courts are closed today and there is no mail service or trash or recycling pickup.

Most schools, including OSU and Columbus State Community College, are closed and parking meters downtown are free.

Gov. John Kasich on Friday issued a proclamation designating the official observance.

“It is fitting that Ohioans reflect upon the life and accomplishments of Dr. King and recognize that his vision continues to provide a powerful symbol of a life based on the values of love, peace, compassion, dignity, nonviolence, and justice for all,” Kasich said.

First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens Senior Pastor DeForest Soaries Jr. was the keynote speaker for the 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Breakfast, the largest of its kind in the country, this morning at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Soaries was the first African-American man to serve as New Jersey’s Secretary of State.

More than 800 OSU students are expected to participate in the Annual Day of Service, volunteering at various places that need assistance, such as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Complex, food pantries and shelters.

They move on to the Hale Center for reflection, followed by the MLK March for Freedom, sponsored by the Iota Phi Theta Fraternity.

The March begins at 2:45 p.m. and ends at City Hall where marchers join the City of Columbus’ Annual MLK March on W. Broad Street.

The march proceeds from City Hall to Veterans Memorial between about 4:45 p.m. and about 5:15 p.m.

Motorists should expect a brief rolling closure and extra pedestrian traffic in the area.

The program begins with selections from Ballet Met dancers, includes original music by high school fellows of the Jazz Arts Academy – Lincoln Theatre and a performance by a 150-voice youth choir.

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