Celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Northampton, MA

I Have A Dream Of Unity: A Change Embraced
A Community Gathering honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Northampton, MA, January 19, 2009

MLK Poster

On Monday, January 19, 2009, a full day of community events are planned to celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Northampton, MA, involving special guests, including Juanita Nelson, Lee Stringer and Cynthia McKinney, the daylong events are sponsored by organizations working locally, nationally and internationally.

Beginning with an African American Heritage Tour of important local sites, and following with an action-packed afternoon of interactive programs, the day will close with a multi-faceted evening benefit at the First Churches of Northampton, a fundraiser for the internationally recognized Friends of the Congo and the locally celebrated Youth Action Coalition.

Organized by the American Friends Service Committee and the Video Vanguards/Youth Action Coalition, the daylong celebration will simultaneously serve to embrace the change brought through the election of the first African American, Barack Obama, to the Presidency of the United States, and to recognize that much work remains to be done to bring justice, equality, freedom and peace to all people of the world. This year’s MLK Day will also provide a chance for people to share their dreams to call upon the Obama administration to manifest the vision and hope of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and to hear from local and internationally renowned African American leaders.

The African American Heritage Tour (10:30-11:45 am) will commence at the Sojourner Truth Memorial Statue (Pine & Park Sts., Florence). Participants will then walk 1.5 miles on an inspiring educational tour that includes the homes of Sojourner Truth, other former slaves, members of the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, and Underground Railroad sites.

Everyone is invited to a special MLK lunch (12:00 noon) followed by an afternoon Community Celebration (1:00-5:00 pm) both at the Northampton High School, 380 Elm Street, involving special guests, including Juanita Nelson. This interactive program will focus on racism, unity and community, and it will include youth generated video and dance, and workshops for “I have a dream” Dream Creation—where all participants’ expressions of their contemporary hopes and dreams will be video recorded and edited by community youth and later sent to President Obama. The daytime events are free, accessible and open to all.

The Evening Benefit (7:00-9:30 pm) at the First Churches of Northampton, 129 Main Street, will feature former U.S. Congresswoman and recent Green Party Presidential candidate Cynthia A. McKinney as keynote speaker. Special guests include renowned New York City author Lee Stringer and anthropologist and race studies scholar Dr. Enoch Page. There will be a multimedia presentation by photojournalist keith harmon snow and music by singer/songwriter Tom Neilson. The Master of Ceremonies will be Julius Ford, a local community youth organizer, lawyer and performer. The evening program is by suggested donation–$20 in advance or $25 at the door. Tickets sold in advance at: Food For Thought Books (106 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst); Blue House Café (147 Main Street, Haydenville); the Old Creamery, (445 Berkshire Trail, Cummington).

Recepients of benefit funds:

  • Friends of the Congo is a 501-c-3 tax-exempt advocacy organization established at the behest of Congolese human rights and grassroots institutions in 2004, to work together to bring about peaceful and lasting change in the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire. The DRC has seen over a century of suffering, inequality and human rights atrocities since the first days of exploitation brought by Henry Morton Stanley (1885), the Belgian King Leopold’s agent in the Congo Free State. Since 1996, an international scramble for resources has fueled warfare that has killed upwards of seven million people and ruined the lives of millions more.
  • The Youth Action Coalition is a 501-c-3 tax-exempt community development organization. The YAC’s Video Vanguards (VV) works with youth of color and their allies as they explore issues they deal with everyday and express themselves through media making. VV youth learn language and skills with which to deal with varying forms of oppression (racism, ageism, sexism and homophobia) on an everyday level. VV supports youth led visions of community building; working on developing leadership skills in youth of all ages using a peer leadership model. The MLK Unity Project focuses on Unity within Communities and is an opportunity for youth ages 6-16 to work on community building in the Pioneer Valley. All Youth Action Coalition programs are free to participants. Benefit funds will support the continued work of these Video Vanguards Projects.


  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Blue House Café
  • The Old Creamery
  • Earthlands
  • First Churches of Northampton
  • Food for Thought Books
  • Friends of the Congo
  • Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts
  • Healing Touch Acupuncture Clinic
  • Paradise Copies
  • Traprock Center for Peace and Justice
  • Wildcat Sanctuary for Peace
  • Youth Action Coalition

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: