Smallest capital city plans big MLK celebration
January 12, 2007
Workshops, discussions and celebrations honoring the life and work of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. get underway in Montpelier today and continue through Monday, the official holiday to honor the nation's most renowned civil rights leader.
The Beth Jacob Synagogue at 10 Harris Ave. will start the memorials with a Sabbath service on Friday at 7 p.m. honoring King.
On Saturday, local mediator Emily Gould and Vermont Nonviolent Communication will present an all-day workshop entitled "Creating Beloved Community with Nonviolent Communication." There is a suggested fee of $75 and portions of the proceeds will support charitable organizations including the Montpelier MLK Day Celebration Weekend, and the Central Vermont Anti-Racism Study Circle. Scholarships are available.
Pre-registration is required by contacting Emily Gould at 223-1735 or by e-mail at .
Two films, "Standing by the River" and a segment of the PBS series "A Force More Powerful," detailing Dr. King's involvement in the struggle for racial and economic justice, will be shown and followed by discussion on Sunday, Jan. 14, at the Savoy Theater, from 4 to 6 p.m.
On Monday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Montpelier City Hall will buzz with activities for all ages. A tent will provide space for reading stories aloud by Reading to End Racism; Jeanne Brink will tell Native American stories. Visitors to the site can learn from videos and literature tables presented by local grass-roots organizations. People will see how they fit into the struggle for equality and dignity by writing their own comments and personal experiences on a timeline of the Civil Rights Movement. A "mini study circle" will demonstrate the process of the Central Vermont Anti-Racism Study Circles six-session study groups.
In addition, local Vermont authors Penny Patch ("Nine White Women in the Civil Rights Movement"), Robert Walsh ("Through White Eyes: Racism in Vermont") and Michelle Kennedy ("Without a Net") will be at City Hall for book-signings and conversation.
There will be a march at 3 p.m. to the governor's office to present Gov. James Douglas with a letter, enlisting his support in revitalizing the Human Rights Commission.
The day will conclude with a program in City Hall from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be speakers representing the growing diversity of our community describing their work for justice, equality, and peace. Representatives from the African-American community, the livable wage campaign, Americorps, and the Freedom to Marry campaign and other groups will make brief presentations. The evening will end with dancing to the rhythms of the Dave Keller Jazz Band.
Also on Monday, The Vermont Historical Society is hosting a program on the "Vermont in Mississippi Project," which helped to build a community center in Jackson, Miss., between 1965 and '67.
The event will begin at noon at the Snelling Room at the Museum of the Vermont Historical Society on State Street.
The Vermont in Mississippi Project was undertaken by the Vermont Civil Rights Union. Ted Seaver, a social studies teacher in the 1960s at Montpelier High School, and his wife Carol, helped set up a community guild. Part day-care center, part community development agency, the idea caught on back in Vermont and became the main project of the Vermont Civil Rights Union.
Panelists for the discussion will include Claire Parkinson, a student and activist at Montpelier High School in 1965; Paul and Sonya Hackel, both instrumental in the Vermont Civil Rights Union; and Tyler Resch, a journalist from Bennington who visited the Seavers in Jackson in 1965.
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