The 21st annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life will be held on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017 at West Hartford Town Hall.
Submitted by the Town of West Hartford
The community is invited to come together for the 21st annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, at the West Hartford town hall auditorium, 50 South Main St., from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Each year the event that pays tribute to Dr. King’s ideals and vision grows more popular and inspiring. The event draws nearly 400 people each year!
This year’s keynote speakers are Victoria Christgau and Pastor James A. Lane, Jr. of the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence, Hartford.
Victoria Christgau is a lifelong peace and nonviolence educator. At the request of legendary civil rights leader, educator and activist, Dr. Bernard LaFayette, Jr., Christgau created the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence in 2007. As founder and executive director, she has trained hundreds of people from across racial, social, economic and generational divides in the philosophy and strategies of Kingian Nonviolence, a methodology of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., from which individuals and communities learn how to address the issue of conflict without resorting to violence.
Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Hartford Courant and other publications. She is the winner of the Hartford Courant’s 2010 Tapestry (Diversity) Award, and in January 2014, Christgau received a Community Organizer award from the CT State Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission.
In 2012, the CTCN received a Community Partnership award from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for its collaboration with the “Peace is Possible” program. Serving as the first director of the World Peace Prayer Society’s Peace Pals program, Christgau co-authored the International Peace Pals Activity Guide. She is also a master teaching artist for the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, Arts Division.
Pastor James A. Lane, Jr. is a senior trainer and advisor for the Connecticut Center for Nonviolence. He is the founder and pastor of The Northend Church of Christ/The Urban Mission, Inc., Hartford, where he has been serving the community for over 30 years. He is the founder of The Buddy Breakfast Program, a manhood training mentoring program for inner city males, the Two-Way Youth Project, and co-founder of The Men of Color initiative. He appears as a guest lecturer for many schools, churches and colleges across the nation. Lane has a bachelor’s degree in Sacred Literature & Theology and a master’s degree in Community Psychology from the University of New Haven, Graduate Center.
Natalie Mendes of the West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization, one of the sponsoring organizations, will provide the introduction.
Fredd L. Ward III, pastor, Congregation Church of Naugatuck, will provide the opening prayer and Mayor Shari Cantor will welcome attendees. Roszena Haskins, director of Continuing Education and Diversity Advancement, West Hartford Public Schools, will serve as master of ceremonies.
Madino Hassan of Conard High School and Amina Symone Lampkin of Hall High School will give the student perspective speeches.
Musical performances will be provided by the Hall High School Jazz Combo, Sedgwick Sounds, and Conard’s Voices of the World Choir.
The celebration is free and is open to the public. The West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization, Town of West Hartford, West Hartford Public Schools and West Hartford Human Rights Commission are annual sponsors of the event.
West Hartford Community Television will air the event live and replay it on Comcast Channels 5 and 95. Refreshments are provided by the Elmwood Senior Center.