Government Happenings Lifestyle Schools

West Hartford to Hold Celebration of Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The Town of West Hartford will hold its annual Martin Luther King Day celebration on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024 at Town Hall.

Courtesy images


The community is invited to the 28th annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, at the West Hartford town hall auditorium, 50 South Main Street, 10-11:30 a.m.  Each year the event that pays tribute to Dr. King’s ideals and vision grows more popular and inspiring. The celebration is free and open to people of all ages.

West Hartford’s 2024 event centers on Dr. King’s message, “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” [Feb 4, 1968, Atlanta, GA]

This year’s keynote speaker is Rev. Dr. Shelley Best, the visionary leader behind the Greater Hartford Arts Council, who serves as the driving force behind an art-centric movement that fosters inclusivity and equity.  She brings over three decades of experience in diverse industries, including military, insurance, human services, government, arts administration, and philanthropy. She is passionate about Soulprenuership and the work of radical hospitality that includes all people. She is also deeply curious about how people can live wholeheartedly while facilitating sustainable transformation to enable more peace, justice, and freedom in our world.

Best holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Central Connecticut State University, a Master of Divinity from Yale University, a Master of Arts in religious leadership, and a Doctorate in Ministry from Hartford International University of Religion and Peace.

The 2024 MLK celebration also includes a welcome from Mayor Shari Cantor and an invocation by Rev. Rowena Kemp, rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Hartford. A video capturing an interdenominational response from area clergy on what it means to be a servant leader will be featured.

West Hartford Town Councilor Carol Blanks will serve as master of ceremonies.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal will share insights from the nation’s capital.

Lynn Thomas of the West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization (WHAASCO), one of the sponsoring organizations, will provide the introduction of the keynote speaker and will pay tribute to the late Earl Exum, who was a past participant in the annual event. The “Earl Exum Servant Leader” award program will be announced.

Each year two students from the public high schools are selected to give student perspectives on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This year, Julianna Farquharson of Conard High School, and Amani Snellings of Hall High School were selected.

The event features musical performances by the Hall High School Jazz Combo, Sedgwick Middle School’s Sedgwick Sounds, and Conard High School’s Voices of the World.

Student artwork, essays, and poems from West Hartford elementary schools will also be on display. A video capturing MLK art projects by West Hartford Public Schools students in progress will kick off the event.

Sponsors of this event include the West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization (WHAASCO), the Town of West Hartford, West Hartford Public Schools, Hidden History, and Concerned Parents of Color of West Hartford. West Hartford Community Interactive will air the event live on Comcast Channel 5, Frontier 6098, and on their YouTube channel,

For more information, contact Renée McCue, public relations specialist, Town of West Hartford at 860-561-7521 or email [email protected].

Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford! Click the blue button below to become a supporter of We-Ha.com and our efforts to continue producing quality journalism.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author


We-Ha.com is the place to go for the latest information about West Hartford – a town that "has it all"! We-Ha.com is part of and proud of our community, and we bring a hyperlocal focus to news and features about the people, schools, businesses, real estate, sports, restaurants, charitable events, arts, and more. Contact us at: [email protected] or [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Translate »