2012-01-11 / Community / Briefly Noted / Coming Events Calendar

Martin Luther King Day Observances

Celebrating the Human Rights leader's holiday
Compiled by Annie Chesnut

Day of Service Honoring Legacy of King

The Volunteer Center of United Way invites residents of all ages throughout Westchester, Putnam and Rockland to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Saturday, January 14, 2012 with a Day of Service. Join hundreds of volunteers in giving 2,000 hours as Dr. King’s legacy continues to empower individuals to eradicate injustice. Volunteers are invited to sign up at: www.volunteer-center.org.
“Last year, 200 volunteers of all ages came together to address problems through service projects that helped strengthen our community and we are eager to facilitate an even greater impact this year,” said Alisa Kesten, Executive Director, The Volunteer Center of United Way.
“Having recently witnessed how budget cuts potentially threaten the non-profit sector, we aim to raise awareness of the importance of volunteerism and deepen service engagement. Investing individual time and talent is an excellent way to keep the spirit of Dr. King alive.”
This year The Volunteer Center sought to incorporate more opportunities that would be both family-friendly and allow for completion in shorter blocks of time. Opportunities include MLK-themed projects with youth, companionship for seniors, painting a YMCA’s 167 room residence for homeless, beautification of community spaces, working alongside people with disabilities, learning anti-bullying techniques, card-making for hospitalized children, clearing invasive vines from trails, organizing local history collections and more.
More than 250 corporate and community volunteers can choose from 29 service projects at Academic Pathways (New Rochelle), Charles Brieant Community Center (Ossining), Children’s Creative Response to Conflict (Nyack), Family Services of Westchester (Yonkers), Ferncliff Manor(Yonkers), FSW Sharing Shelf (Port Chester), Green Chimneys (Carmel), Groundwork Hudson Valley (Hastings), Institute of Applied Human Dynamics (Tarrytown), Mount Vernon YMCA, My Sister’s Place (Yonkers), Nepperhan Community Center (Yonkers), New Rochelle Public Library, Richmond Community Services (Yonkers), Rockland Country Day School (Valley Cottage) , Somers Manor, Therapeutic Equestrian Center (Cold Spring), Wartburg Adult Center (Mount Vernon), White Plains Youth Bureau, White Plains YMCA, White Plains Public Library, WJCS Kid’s Kloset (White Plains), and Yonkers Public Library - Will Branch.
Volunteers can find details on each project and can register online at www.volunteer-center.org or call 914-948-4452 for more information.
Chapman Roberts to Host King Celebration in Peekskill
On Sunday, January 15, 2012 at 4 p.m., all-star singer, actor, composer, choral conductor and arranger, Chapman Roberts, will host the eighth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration and twenty-fifth Anniversary recognition of The Preservation Company.
Chapman Roberts debuted in the original Broadway cast of Hair. His subsequent stage appearances included feature roles, on and off Broadway, in Salvation, Hello Dolly, Jesus Christ Superstar and as El Gallo in The Fantasticks. He has recorded with Gregory Hines, Horace Silver, Weather report and B.B. King (Grammy). His critically acclaimed vocal arrangements can be heard on eight original Broadway – and West End – cast albums of shows that garnered 25 Tony nominations.
The event will recognize four outstanding honorees, including:
·       Valerie Swan, Executive Director of the Peekskill Youth Bureau for her tireless works in the development of programs for the City’s youth. This includes youth working with The Preservation Company in the Home Repair Project. She serves as an outstanding representative on many Boards and Agency Committees in Westchester County.
·       Julio Capurro of Capurro Contracting, Inc., for their tireless efforts on behalf of building a better society for all. They have demonstrated their ability to maintain affordability of each project while working with the homeowner in completing the improvements.
·       From its inception, The Housing Action Council has been an integral partner of The Preservation Company, providing financial leadership and counseling that has enabled the purchase of three properties in the City of Peekskill which affords 7 units of housing. The Housing Action Council is a driving force in Westchester County for affordable housing and continues to Sheppard the process with not-for-profits and developers to make affordable housing a reality.
·       Hudson River HealthCare (HRHCare) started this journal with The Preservation Company 25 years ago, as The Preservation Company of the Peekskill Area Health Center. Although the two entities are now separate, HRHCare, under the vision and leadership of Anne Kauffman Nolon, President and CEO and Hon. Alan Steiner, Board Chairman, remain steadfastly committed to Health and Housing.
The eighth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration will feature cutting-edge works of live art, showcasing the energy and passion of the life and times of Dr. King, with artists presenting their works in their medium to popular, patriotic and jazz music. Guests will be able to bid on the artworks during the silent auction.
The heart of this event is for artists to reflect upon Dr. King’s life as they honor his impact and legacy. It will challenge everyone to celebrate diversity and to continue the work of Dr. King by making a difference in their community while offering countless opportunities to create and enjoy the community art.
The dinner and auction will be held at Colonial Terrace, Oregon Road, in Cortlandt Manor. Musical selections will be performed by Cece Hankins, with accompaniment by Steven Clarke.
All proceeds will benefit The Preservation Company, a not-for-profit housing organization that has addressed the need for affordable housing in Westchester since 1987. This year marks The Preservation Company’s twenty-fifth year in serving the community. The Preservation Company administers a Home Ownership Counseling Program, Foreclosure Prevention Program, Home Improvement Program and the Tenant Services Program. A Life Skills Training Program provides workshops for tenants and homeowners in the areas of financial fitness, legal services, health awareness and the responsibilities of renting and home ownership. The Community for All Ages Program includes a host of intergenerational activities, along with a Leadership Academy and a promising mentor program.
For more information about Continuing the Dream, the 2012 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration, or to make a reservation or contribution, please contact Tuesday McDonald at 914-734-8906.
Two King Programs at Desmond-Fish Library

The Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison will present its sixteenth annual Martin Luther King Day observances, “Bringing the Dream Home: Civil Rights and the Hudson Valley,” with an adult program Sunday evening, January 15 at 5pm, and a children’s program Monday afternoon, January 16 at 2pm.
This year, the Library’s MLK programs feature Dr. Sarita Gregory, assistant professor of political science, and Dr. Quincy Mills, assistant professor of history, both at Vassar College. Through original scholarship, stories, poetry and music, they will present historical case studies of African American New Yorkers who engaged the social networks and social movements of their time, shedding light on civil rights issues and social movements of our time, from labor and voting rights to Occupy Wall Street.
On Sunday, January 15 at 5pm, the “Bringing the Dream Home” adult program features presentations by Gregory and Mills and discussion. (Due to damage to the Library’s kitchen from Hurricane Irene, there is no MLK potluck supper this year, though snacks will be served.)
Dr. Gregory will present work from her manuscript in progress, Improvising Politics: Black Women’s Activism in an Age of Democratic Disappointment. It explores the life, writings and recordings of Nancy DuPree, an African American civil rights activist, teacher, and community organizer who moved to Rochester, New York in 1964, months before an explosion of racial tension in that city following an incident of police brutality during a street dance. In her classroom, DuPree helped her students process their reaction through discussion, cultural expression and creative engagement. She used spoken word and musical improvisation as pedagogy, and impacted Rochester politics through anthem called “Ghetto Reality” improvised by children from the ghetto. She later documented this work on a Smithsonian Folkways Recording. ”Improvisation is more than an approach to musical performance,” said Gregory, “it is an approach, a spirit, embraced by some black women for survival.     
Dr. Mills will discuss the work and abolitionist politics of Uriah Boston, an African American barber in 19th century Poughkeepsie – a case study from his forthcoming book, Shaving Men, Grooming Race: A History of Black Barbers and Barber Shops. Boston engaged in a heated debate with Frederick Douglass over the value of service work, particularly barbering, as a measurement of racial progress. In ways that Martin Luther King Jr. argued a century later, Boston and Douglass connected labor rights with civil rights to centralize economic security in the definition of citizenship.” Boston’s work as a barber and abolitionist offer wonderful insights into how black barbers used their positions to fight for freedom,” Mills said.
On Monday, January 16 at 2pm, the Library presents its MLK Day program for school-age children, with Dr. Mills and Dr. Gregory reading stories and presenting music that explore similar themes in an age-appropriate way—black barbers and service work, the power of improvisation and the sacrifices, love and dreams that animate civil rights engagement. Jonathan Kruk will emcee. The 2011 MLK Day program is made possible with generous support from the Friends of Desmond-Fish Library.                                                                                                                                  
Both the January 15 and January 16 programs are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Library at 845-424-3020 or email Library director Carol Donick at donick@highlands.com.


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