Rev. Onie Cooper, a former president of Reno-Sparks branch of the NAACP, has been seriously ill and recently stepped down as chair of the local Martin Luther King, Jr. committee, a position now filled by Bishop Gene Savoy, Jr. Cooper is in the intensive care unit at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno.
“My husband’s dream is to have 100 cars participate in the annual Martin Luther King Highway caravan,” his wife, Mary, said in a press release.
As a result of Cooper’s years-long campaign, a segment of U.S. 395/Interstate 580 is now designated the Martin Luther King Highway. The annual caravan will gather at 10:30 a.m. today at the Second Baptist Church, 1265 Montello St. in Reno. Participants will drive a portion of the MLK Highway through Reno.
Elder William Moon, also a former Reno-Sparks NAACP president, is heading up a support drive for the Cooper family. He encourages people to send contributions payable to Mrs. Mary Cooper, to P.O. Box 7757, Reno, NV 89510.
The branch is also accepting contributions through its website, RenoSparksNAACP.org.
Weekend activities began Sunday with the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. community interfaith memorial service at the First United Methodist Church on First Street.
The weekend concludes with today’s caravan and the 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dinner Celebration at the Peppermill Hotel Casino. The featured speaker will be Andrew Harewood, a U.S. Army major assigned to the Pentagon as deputy Pentagon chaplain. He is the recipient of citations from the White House and numerous military awards.
Tickets are $55 per person. For more information, call 329-8990.