Lee County’s annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizer Margaret Murchison said Wednesday.

A celebration of the civil rights activist is typically organized by the Council for Effective Actions & Decisions, which puts on an event each year including several guest speakers. Like many events this year, however, it’s been canceled in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Although cancelling the group gathering is the best way to keep people safe, Murchison said, it’s a bad time to bypass a formal observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The tumultuous events of the past year, including the Black Lives Matter protests and the coronavirus pandemic, make it all the more important to reflect on King’s life and legacy, Murchison said.

“It’s a good time to think, ‘What would Martin Luther King do?’ ” Murchison said. “In a situation like we’re living through now, what would Dr. King do? It’s a good question to ask ourselves.”

Murchison said she hopes people will still celebrate the day in some way, perhaps through community service.

“It’s still a day on, not a day off,” she said.

“We would hope that people would use this day to do something constructive. Maybe offer to work with a child who’s having problems with their virtual lessons, or contact a local senior citizen to see if they need Meals on Wheels or if they would like a wellness check from the (Lee County) Sheriff’s Office.”