MLK Jr. will be honored in two separate ways  

  • ">

    FILE - In this Aug. 28, 1963 file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. (AP Photo/File)

Monitor staff
Published: 1/16/2022 8:01:11 PM
Modified: 1/16/2022 8:00:07 PM

For the second straight year, tributes throughout the Granite State today, honoring the greatest civil rights leader in American history, will be held virtually and not in person due to COVID-19.

And for the second straight year, leaders of the Martin Luther King Jr. Coalition-New Hampshire are simply rolling with the challenges, thankful that they at least have an alternative in place to reach out and talk about King.

“I’m not complaining at all,” said Maggie Fogarty, director of the American Friends Service Committee and a coalition member. “We’re just grateful we can come together in some form.”

Not all ceremonies will be held remotely. But the organizations that do, indeed, play it safe serve as yet another reminder that the pandemic is alive and well. Adjustments are needed.

The Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath of the New Hampshire Council of Churches did not bemoan remote meetings. Instead, she appreciated that technology had helped create a network of participants from all coalition regions without leaving home.

Heath mentioned that she’ll feel more comfortable with the process today after participating in a Zoom gathering last January.

“I was not part of organizing that one,” Heath said. “It actually did feel fairly new. We were still learning our way around and a virtual gathering felt new. There will be less of that feeling this time.”

For a while, it looked as though the United States had calmed the COVID outbreak and was heading toward a major victory in the world of disease warfare.

But in recent months, the Omicron variant has roared into the picture, stopping progress and in fact pushing it back.

That’s why the MLK Jr. Coalition will go with a virtual gathering from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. There will be music by the Manchester High School West Jazz Band directed by Rebecca Berger.

James McKim, president of the Manchester NAACP, will serve as moderator and conduct the MLK Jr. Choir. McKim is a towering figure in the Granite State and New England overall, promoting equality and civil rights through his lectures and books.

Elsewhere, T.J. Wheeler, who plays Jazz and the Blues on many stringed instruments, will perform and be a guest speaker.

And Sebastian Fuentes, an immigrant from Peru, will receive the 2022 MLK Award for advocating immigrants’ rights. Fuentes is also the vice-chair of the state’s Democratic Latino Caucus, and a member of the Board of Directors of the NH Progressive Coalition.

Elsewhere, not everyone is being this cautious. For example, the Jaffrey-Rindge MLK Committee’s “Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.” event will be in-person from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Park Theatre in Jaffrey.

And the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester will be open to customers for free today, while also live streaming its own virtual edition of “Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.” on its Facebook page from 11 a.m. to noon.

It’s anyone’s guess as to how long these virtual activities will remain remote. But it’s clear that messages like the “I Have a Dream” speech continue to promote unity and peace in King’s name.

That, said MLK Coalition leaders, is a message that can be delivered in more ways than one.

“Dr. King was about community and caring for one another,” Rev. Heath said. “That’s what doing it virtually is allowing us to do.”

Details on the state celebration are on mlknh.org.


Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.



Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy