King holiday will be observed across city this weekend

Melissa Tabeek, Special to the Reporter
Jan. 12, 2012

Dorchester churches and community organizations are planning a week of events to celebrate the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.

Young people will be celebrating with service on Jan. 14 when over 250 eighth-graders from the 351 cities in the Commonwealth join together for the second-annual Service Day to pay tribute to Dr. King. As part of Project 351, Governor Deval Patrick will kick off the event with a Youth Town Meeting before the students head to service sites in Boston including the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club, the Greater Boston Food Bank and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Towers.

The Caribbean Foundation of Boston, Inc. will be hosting its 28th Annual Testimonial Appreciation Awards in tribute to Dr. King on Sunday, Jan. 15. The 2012 honorees are people in the community who exemplify the foundation’s model, which is “Neighbor helping neighbor,” said founder Beulah Providence.

Providence received a scholarship in 1973 that had been established in memory of Dr. King. She used the scholarship to go back to school and eventually founded The Caribbean Foundation.
“This event is giving back to the community and doing what Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about,” said Providence.

She expects 400 to 500 hundred people at the banquet at the Reed Auditorium in Dorchester’s Grove Hall.

The city of Boston will be also honoring Dr. King on the national holiday throughout the day, starting with the 42nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast in Boston. The event will feature music from The New England Gospel Ensemble and several local elected officials and community leader speakers, including Mayor Thomas M. Menino, United States Senator Scott Brown and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, among others. The breakfast will be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center at 8 a.m. and hundreds of community, business and religious leaders throughout Massachusetts are expected.

Mayor Menino’s Office of Arts, Tourism & Special Events, with the help of the Museum of African-American History, Boston Cares and the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (BYSO), will be presenting “A Day of Service and Celebration,” a free tribute concert in honor of Dr. King at Faneuil Hall at 1 p.m. on Jan. 16. A mix of classical music, spirituals and freedom songs will be performed by the Intensive Community Program of the BYSO.  Leaders in the community will also read some of Dr. King’s speeches and writings. A service event is also planned for Jan. 17 at the Curley School in Jamaica Plain.

There will also be a celebration at The Second Church of Dorchester on Wed., Jan. 25. The church will play host to award-winning national reporter and production editor Adelle Banks in a presentation of “Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. and is free to the public.