By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — Speeches, singing and cake will be among local highlights in the days ahead to commemorate the life and contributions of a civil rights leader.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be observed in Oneonta with a community celebration Sunday. On Monday, a luncheon program will be held at SUNY Oneonta, and SUNY Cobleskill will present displays and emphasize the role of volunteerism.
From 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, the Oneonta branch of the NAACP and the Oneonta Commission on Community Relations and Human Rights will honor the civil rights leader and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The program will be at the Elm Park United Methodist Church at 401 Chestnut St.
At noon Monday, “The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.: Race, Labor, and Justice,’’ a luncheon with guest speaker Edison Bond will be at the State University College at Oneonta.
Bond, a leader of Brooklyn’s African-American faith-based community and state United University Professions membership development officer, will speak in Le Café of the Morris Complex, a media release said. UUP and the Africana-Latino Studies Department are sponsoring the free luncheon program, which is open to the college and local communities.
Bond’s presentation will include the current plight of the medical complex at Downstate SUNY Brooklyn that threatens the health and employment of many thousands of low-income people, as well as the future of SUNY, the release said.
Classes at the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill begin Monday. At SUNY Cobleskill, commemorative displays and activities are planned to highlight King’s philosophy and legacy, Diane Dobry, director of communications, said Thursday. Students will be encouraged to engage in an act of volunteerism Monday to show the impact of service to others, she said, and an inscription wall and multimedia montage will be among displays.
Classes at the State University College of Technology at Delhi resume Jan. 28; however, plans are to present special activities during Black History Month in February.
Oneonta’s free community celebration carries the theme “Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not a Day Off,” a media release from the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said. The program will emphasize King’s civil rights legacy and encouragement of all to act on his principles of social justice and racial equality.
Sunday’s program will feature Hobart resident Reginald Brunson, who will recite King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.
Roberto Barbosa, state assistant attorney general, will read a letter from Eric Schneiderman, state attorney general, commemorating the day.
Sadiq Abdushahid of the Naksebendi Hakani Sufi Community will play “Sheykh Nazim” on Bindir hand-drum and will lead a call to prayer. Chris Wolf-Gould’s Jazz Ensemble will play throughout the afternoon and will feature Gerry Falco and DJ Wooden. Barbara Roberts, Temple Beth El’s cantor and Diana Boyd, NAACP member, also will sing.
Oneonta Job Corps Academy students will present a “stepper performance,’’ with Tim Horne as piano accompanist. Other participants will include Wayne Boyd, Delanor Davis, Sandi Milavec, Joanne Fisher, Essie Harding and Jeremy Redlien.
Oneonta deputy mayor Mike Lynch will issue the City of Oneonta Proclamation honoring the national holiday. Lee Fisher, president of the Oneonta Branch of the NAACP, and Joyce Miller, chairwoman of the Oneonta Commission on Community Relations and Human Rights, will lead the festivities.
The Rev. Olu Harding, pastor of the Elm Park United Methodist Church, and the Rev. Nancy Russell of United Methodist Church of Davenport will lead the audience in the invocation and benediction.
The Oneonta Branch of the NAACP was created in 1993 with its principal mission and activities have been to eradicate racism and other forms of prejudice.
The Commission on Community Relations and Human Rights was established as a public body by the Oneonta Common Council, and its mission is to build a bridge of understanding to every person and group in the city, the release said.