Portland NAACP to honor Rev. King on Jan. 16

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PORTLAND — Taking “A True Revolution of Values” as the theme, the annual observance of the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be held Monday, Jan. 16.

Sponsored by the city chapter of the NAACP, the day of events at Holiday Inn by the Sea, 88 Spring St., will be capped by a keynote speech by Native American attorney Sherri Mitchell.

Mitchell, born and raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation, won the 2015 Spirit of Maine Award for her work in international human rights. Her legal experience includes solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior, staff attorney for Pine Tree Legal’s Native American Unit, and educator with the Maine attorney general’s Civil Rights Division.

The theme for the day of observance is drawn from King’s 1967 speech at Riverside Church in New York City, where he denounced the Vietnam War and social injustices, according to the NAACP website.

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring,” King said.

The dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are priced for individuals, and nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Reservations can be made at bit.ly/2jf6xca. There will be live music and a cash bar, although the dinner is suitable to those who are 14 and older.

Preceding the annual dinner will be a youth summit hosted by the Martin Luther King Jr. Fellows from 9 a.m.-noon. The summit will explore ways to meet the goals of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative begun by President Barack Obama. 

My Brother’s Keeper seeks to increase opportunities for education and employment and ensure justice for youth of color. The second annual summit will look at local efforts to promote racial equality and what steps need to be taken to make more progress.

The summit is free, but registration at bit.ly/2ifOUoq is required.

From 2-4 p.m. there will be a family celebration of King with theater, music and visual arts, suitable for families and children in grades K-8. Children 13 and younger must be accompanied by a chaperone.

Maine AmeriCorps Alums, One Tree Wholistic Learning Center and the Portland Housing Authority are also sponsoring the family celebration.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.