How to Commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Westchester
Some of the best local ways to honor, remember, or volunteer in remembrance of the beloved civil rights icon.
ROWLAND SCHERMAN; RESTORED BY ADAM CUERDEN / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Towns, non-profits, communities, and individuals will be coming together this year to celebrate the life and achievements of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to honor his memory with services and humanitarian works. Here are a few selections for those looking to find some way to remember Dr. King this Monday.
Volunteer New York! is holding their annual Day of Service on Saturday, January 13, but functionally there are plenty of related opportunities for volunteer efforts all weekend long, straight through Monday itself. Events range from food drives and community cleans, to veterans’ aid programs and CPR courses, to pet services and book clubs. Sign up or get on a waiting list for the event of your choice online.
Also participating in the Day of Service is the United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York. You can find local volunteer events on their website, Time For Good, and like VNY! These events span a wide range of community service projects.
The Reformed Church of Bronxville will host their annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day breakfast from 8 to 9 a.m. on Monday.
If lunch is more your speed, African American Men of Westchester will host their 17th Annual MLK Legacy Youth Awards luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m at the Double Tree Hotel in Tarrytown. Join the community in honoring this year’s crop of young people whose actions demonstrate adherence to the principles and teachings of Dr. King. Tickets are $35 in advance, or $40 at the door.
For dinner, The Coallition for Mutual Respect will hold their yearly Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner and Service the Friday evening before the holiday, January 12. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. followed by a 7:30 p.m. service at Temple Israel. To purchase tickets, or sponsor a youth ticket, please visit Temple Israel’s PayQuiq site.
For those who can’t get off on MLK Day itself, Catharine Street Community Center will be hosting the 27th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast on Friday, January 19 at 7:15 a.m. at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie. Local high school students Ayo S. Opuiyo and Hope T. Tangunu will be honored, as well as Marist College president emeritus Dennis Murphy and Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson. Keynote will be provided by CBS news anchor Maurice DuBois. For those interested, there will also by a welcoming reception and conversation hosted the preceding afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Henry A. Wallace Visitor Center of the FDR Presidential Library & Museum. Tickets start at $60.
For those looking to relax a bit more on their day off but still ruminate on the ideals King championed, consider the following options that offer the benefits of both goals.
Selma — 2014’s historical drama directed by Ava DuVerney recounts the civil rights marches between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama in the summer of 1965. It features David Oyelowo as King. Selma is available to purchase or rent through YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play starting at $2.99.
King: A Filmed Record … Mongomery to Memphis — This Oscar-nominated 1970 documentary by Sidney Lumet follows King’s development of nonviolent resistance movements between 1955 and King’s assassination in 1968, using only original, un-retouched footage. Thanks to the Westchester Public Library system, this film is available for free streaming through Kanopy.
Mississippi Burning — While not directly based off of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., this 1988 classic starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe has been cemented in history as one of the cornerstone movies regarding the forced desegregation of the Mid-Twentieth Century South. The pair star as FBI agents investigating the murder of several civil rights activists in a small Mississippi community, the premise directly based on the actual Chaney-Goodman-Schwerner murder case of 1964. Mississippi Burning is available in iTunes starting at $3.99 and is available for free on Vudu.
A Raisin in the Sun — The Jacob Burns Film Center will be showing this 1961 drama on January 15 as part of its film series REMIX: The Black Experience in Film, Media, and Art. This adaptation of the play starts Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Claudia McNeil, and is notable for the film debut of Lou Gossett, Jr. This story of the Younger family seeking a better life was in 2005 selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its National Film Registry based on its cultural and historical significance.
If reading is more your thing than movie-viewing, stop by your local favorite bookstore for a copy of Representative John Lewis’ March. The graphic novel recounts the true story of Lewis’ life in the civil rights movement, including his meeting with MLK, the titular marches in the summer of 1965, and the fight for desegregation. Cowritten with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Eisner-winning artist Nate Powell, Volume 1 of this New York Times #1 bestseller is a quick read and retails for about $14.95, while the full three-volume boxed set retails for about $49.99.