Daily News

Four Area Organizations Collaborate to Host Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

SPRINGFIELD — Four area organizations will host this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Monday, Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the MassMutual Center, 1277 Main St., Springfield. This annual, city-wide event is a collaborative celebration hosted by Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, Community Music School of Springfield (CMSS), DREAM Studios, and Springfield College.

Music and dance performances will provide inspiration and reflection on King’s legacy and the continued struggle for social justice in communities across the country. The celebration seeks to bring the community together to work toward the dream King so eloquently spoke of more than 50 years ago.

“In light of the uncertainties around race relations and the polarization of various groups who continue to feel marginalized, this celebration reminds us we have the opportunity to engage in simple acts — at school, at work, and in our families — that strengthen our community in the spirit of unity that defines the legacy of Dr. King,” said Ronn Johnson, CEO of Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services. “We must all speak out against intolerance and be change agents. The MLK Day celebration inspires us reclaim the dream of a beloved community.”

This year’s theme, “In Times Like These,” will feature performances by more than 800 young people from Springfield, including CMSS’ Sonido Musica/Springfield Public School Partnership programs; the Springfield Community Chorale, gospel and inspirational music in the spirit of unity and in the bond of peace, led by Vanessa Ford; a dramatic performance by DREAM Studios; CMSS’ Martin Luther King Day Festival Orchestra led by Marty Knieriem; an oratorical selection by Kendrick Hewitt; and much more.

The celebration is free and open to the public of all ages, and accessible to hearing-impaired and mobility-impaired individuals. MassMutual Center is located in downtown Springfield, close to public transportation. For more information please contact any of the partnering organizations, or visit their websites.

Event sponsors include the MassMutual Center, Focus Springfield, the Springfield Cultural Council, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Springfield College, the Basketball Hall of Fame, Westfield State University, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and New England Public Radio.

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