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.
Hartwick College will also offer several opportunities to celebrate King and his work on Monday. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the DVD “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Movement” will be shown in the lobby of Yager Hall.
There will be a civil rights quiz game from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the Commons in Dewar Hall, and a multimedia presentation will be shown to prospective students and their families from 1 to 1:45 p.m.
There will be a dinner discussion in the Chesebro Room in the Dewar Student Union from 5 to 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public by reservation. For information about events on the Hartwick campus, contact Associate Dean and Director of U.S. Pluralism Programs Harry Matthews at 431-4428 or at email@example.com.
SUNY Delhi will kick-start its spring semester Monday with a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration and day of volunteering. The college is encouraging individuals to commit to a semester of service, focusing on the question “What are you doing for others?” Post-It billboards on campus will invite students to answer the question, with responses gathered on an online billboard.
Monday will also kick off a semester-long food drive on campus, and a day-long competition between campus divisions for donating the most food will take place Monday.
Short films with the theme of service that were entered in the college’s video competition will be screened and community members can vote for the winner.
SUNY Cobleskill’s Cultural Diversity Committee and Jeff Weissinger, director of dining services, are offering opportunities to volunteer during the college’s Six Days of Service Celebration, beginning Monday.
Projects will include volunteering in the dining halls, making “Boo Boo Bunnies” in support of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Feed the Need Food Drive for area food pantries and preparing meals for the homeless. Several buildings around campus, including Champlin Hall, Prentice Hall, the Bouck lobby and the library, will be displaying commemorative representations of King’s life and message.
A special dinner will be served in Champlin Hall Monday night, offering some of King’s favorite foods.
Service will also be the focus of an MLK Day event in Middleburgh on Monday.
The “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Reflection on Service: Stories of Hurricane Irene” program will collect and record stories from Hurricane Irene and the following recovery effort, focused on Schoharie County.
Sponsored by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Schoharie Area Long Term Recovery, the New York Folklore Society and AmeriCorps VISTA, the event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday in the social hall of the Middleburgh Reformed Church at 178 River St.
The program will begin with a workshop focused on the art of storytelling and collecting stories for volunteers and residents conducted by the New York Folklore Society. Lunch will be served at noon, featuring remarks by Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook. Following the luncheon, those in attendance will participate in round-table discussions about their experiences in Schoharie.
Additional storytelling sessions are planned for the spring. To participate in the program or to learn more, call the SALT office at (518) 702-5017 or visit www.saltrecovery.org/mlk.