Hurricane Irene cancels Tri-State trips to MLK Memorial dedication

CINCINNATI - Hurricane Irene is washing out plans for more than 100 Tri-State residents who wanted to see the dedication of the new Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Fears over the storm reaching the capitol over the weekend have forced those ceremonies to be canceled.

The parking lot of the New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn was where at least two busloads of people were to gather for the trip to Washington. If the ceremonies were being held this Sunday, they would bring as many as 250,000 people from around the country for the MLK Memorial dedication.

At least one other bus to Washington was scheduled to leave from the Church of the Living God on Forest Avenue in Avondale Friday night.

Those plans started to change late Thursday night as word started to get around about the approaching hurricane.

This was to be a big weekend a lot of people at several Tri-state churches were excited about because the memorial dedication was coming on the 48th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.

All the trips to the District were called off within hours of their scheduled departure.

One of the organizers of the trips is Victoria Straughn of the group, Concerned Citizens for Justice.

"I am very disappointed the ceremonies have been called off," Straughn said. "But I certainly understand why, you can't fight a hurricane. There's just no fight there."

So far, there's no word on when MLK Memorial dedication ceremonies will be re-scheduled.

But Straughn says another date in September or October may not draw as large crowds because it probably won't have the same significance for many people as being in Washington on the anniversary of the "I have a dream" speech.

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