6 Ways to Observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Western MA

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Opportunities and Celebrations in Western MA
Monday, January 21, 2013

Six different community building events, community-based educational opportunities and service-based learning experiences are schedule this Monday, January 21st in Western MA. Find one that fits your interests and spend MLK Day learning, serving and connecting through your community!

Honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and dedication to creating change in our country can be done in many ways.  The day will be celebrated in Western MA at concerts, lectures, worship services, and ceremonies throughout the region.

Mass Audubon is offering a unique way for families to spend the special holiday this year – providing much needed help with improvement projects at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton on Monday, Jan 21!  Dr. King’s major goals had to do with civil rights, but he also stands as a pillar of service to community, dedication, hard work, and determination.  Honor these values by giving your time to better your community!

Projects at the sanctuary include:

  • trail clearing to provide better habitat for small animal and bird species
  • working to eliminate invasive plant species from the grounds
  • helping to clean and organize the sanctuary’s Visitor Center so as to make further groups’ visit more enjoyable

These service-based learning activities also allow families to learn about the many different animals who call the sanctuary home, the type of habitat protected by the sanctuary, and how to support local conservation efforts.  Spending time outdoors can also lead families to discover winter animal signs, including tracks, scat, and traces of pre-nibbled food from a variety of plant species.

The community service day will take place on Monday, January 21st from 9:30am-1:30pm at Arcadia, located at 127 Combs Road in Easthampton.  Pre-registration (done online) requested.  Dress warmly if you plan to spend time outdoors, and bring water, lunch, and perhaps a hot drink.

There are several other opportunities for families to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. day through out the region too:

NORTHAMPTON: Join fellow community members in Northampton for the 29th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration. Starting at 8am, there will be events throughout the day, beginning with a community breakfast and dialogue at Christ United Methodist Church (271 Rocky Hill Road).  At 10am, families can take a walking tour of Florence highlighting places significant to abolition and sharing information about the life and work of Sojourner Truth.  Other events throughout the day include a workshop for youth education, a multifaith celebration, and a lecture on the effects of racism.  (FREE)

STURBRIDGEOld Sturbridge Village is open from 9:30am-4pm with special programs celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!  There will, of course, be lots of opportunities to learn about life and culture during the winter in early 19th century New England.  In addition, families can meet Elizabeth “Mumbet” Freeman (played by historian Tammy Denease), a young slave from Massachusetts who won her freedom (legally- in a court!) from her owner in 1781.  The decision was a landmark case, considering Freeman was not only a slave, but also a woman.  Families can learn about the importance of Freeman’s story, and pair what they learn with further studies of civil rights issues and American history.  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  ($)

SPRINGFIELD:  The Community Music School of Springfield presents their annual musical celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at Newhouse Hall from 11am-1pm.  The event will feature performances from the Freedom Choir, the MLK Dancers, the CMSS String City Orchestra, Dream Studios, and many other local groups sharing song, dance, and words honoring Dr. King and his accomplishments.  413-746-3655.  127 State Street.  (FREE)

GREAT BARRINGTON: Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at an interfaith celebration at the First Congregational Church starting at 12noon for the 4th Annual Interfaith Celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday.  There will be readings, music, and singing, and youth from local organizations will participate in the ceremony and present information.  Bring a nonperishable food item to donate to a local food pantry.  251 Main Street.  (FREE)

STOCKBRIDGE: Learn about the powerful images that Norman Rockwell created during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Starting at 2:30pm, Norman Rockwell Museum’s Curator of Education Tom Daly will share the stories behind the creation of such paintings as “The Problem We All Live With,” “Murder in Mississippi,” and “New Kids in the Neighborhood,” and Rockwell’s dedication to civil rights throughout his career. 413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.   (FREE with museum admission)

1 Comment

  1. January 19, 2013 at 8:13 am

    29th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Program (January 21st)
    Gathering for Community, Gathering for Action

    The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) of Western Massachusetts, with the Northampton Interfaith Clergy, Media Education Foundation, David Ruggles Center, and Smith College, will be holding the 29th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day program on the holiday – Monday, January 21st. There will be a series of events during the course of the day:

    The day will begin at 8 a.m. with a Community Breakfast and Dialogue at Christ United Methodist Church, 271 Rocky Hill Road in Northampton. Open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated to ChristNorthampton@gmail.com.

    The Sojourner Truth Walking Tour in Florence, at the statue of the same name at the intersection of Park and Pine Streets, will begin at 10 a.m. The Walking Tour will be led by Steve Strimer of the David Ruggles Center, and will feature the homes and history of abolitionism in the city.

    A convocation and youth workshop will begin at12:30 at Edwards Church in downtown Northampton (297 Main Street). This will feature the “Help Increase the Peace Program” (HIPP), a youth-led, youth-directed non-violence training for all ages. HIPP has been a part of the AFSC’s Western Massachusetts programming for 15 years.

    At 3:30, there will be a Multifaith Celebration: Living King’s Legacy, with music from the Nields! Join us at the Unitarian Universalist Society at 220 Main Street, Northampton to celebrate King’s legacy in prose and performance.

    At 7pm, there will be a talk at Stoddard Hall on Smith College campus, entitled “How Racism Harms White People”. It is being hosted by Sut Jhally and the Media Education Foundation. The talk details the economic, political, and social devastation that racism wreaks upon white people in American society.

    One of the organizers of the event, Reverend Matilda Cantwell of Smith Helen Hills Hills Chapel, states, “The role of faith in the Civil Rights movement is often overlooked and now, as then, we need to bring varied religious and spiritual viewpoints to the table. I am looking to this day as a time when community members will take a long hard look at the ways that violence and oppression presents themselves in our world today, and come together as moral and ethical partners for further action and commitment.”

    All events are free and open to the public!

    Check out the coverage of the day in today’s Gazette, and our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/456503734415980/

    For any other questions or comments, please send them along!

    Jeff Napolitano
    Director
    AFSC of Western MA
    413-584-8975
    jnapolitano@afsc.org


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