Music, film, discussions, competition and a focus on service will be among the ways the local area will mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day, beginning Sunday.
The Oneonta branch of the NAACP and the City of Oneonta Human Rights Commission will pay tribute to King and Nelson Mandela at its program from 2 to 3:45 p.m. Sunday at the First United Methodist Church at 66 Chestnut St. in Oneonta. Organizers said the celebration is open to the public at no charge.
Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller will issue a proclamation honoring the two men, and Oneonta NAACP branch president Lee Fisher will lead the tribute along with Joyce Miller, chairwoman of the Commission on Human Rights. The Rev. Nancy Russell, of the United Methodist Church and Olu Harding, pastor of the Elm Park United Methodist Church, will also be speaking.
There will be performances by cantorial soloist Barbara Roberts, professor Yolanda Sharpe, pianists Tim Horne and Craig Morrow, the Voices of Serenity gospel choir, Oneonta Job Corps Academy students, Michelle Osterhoudt, Delanor Davis, local actor Reginald Brunson, Dr. Gennaro Falco, Sadiq Abdushahid and Wendy Slicer, and Oneonta Middle School students, who will recite poetry by Langston Hughes. Music and refreshments will be provided.
A federal holiday since 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is being observed Jan. 20 this year. King’s actual birthday was Jan. 15.
Local colleges have put together a variety of events to mark the occasion.
There will be a Martin Luther King Jr., Day program at noon on Monday in Le Cafe at Morris Hall on the SUNY Oneonta campus. A brief film on King’s life will open the program, followed by a discussion on King’s legacy led by Lee Fisher and NAACP executive board officer Dee Perry. Lunch will be served. The program is spearheaded by United University Professions, the labor union that represents SUNY academic and professional employees.