Celebrating MLK Day with the CCR

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The South Orange-Maplewood Community Coalition on Race presents its 17th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Observance & Fair on Monday, Jan. 15. This event is free and open to the public.
At 2 p.m., the observance will be held in the Columbia High School Auditorium, 17 Parker Ave. in Maplewood. Hundreds of SOMA residents and friends from neighboring communities are expected to gather to honor King through music, a sharing of interfaith readings, and an affirmation of King’s call to action and service. The keynote speaker is longtime civil rights activist Larry Hamm, the founding chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress in Newark.
At 3:30 p.m., the annual volunteer fair and reception will be held in the CHS cafeteria. The fair will showcase local service organizations that offer opportunities for residents to give back to the community by volunteering on the spot or in the future. Organizations interested in participating in the fair should contact the coalition office at 973-761-6116, ext. 4, or at audrey.rowe@twotowns.org. Donations of food pantry items, knitting yarn, old eyeglasses, children’s books and travel-sized toiletries are requested.
At 4:45 p.m., gather at either Duck Pond in South Orange with village President Sheena Collum or in front of Maplewood Town Hall with Mayor Victor DeLuca for the lighting of the luminaries — decorated white bags with votive candles inside. They will be illuminated at 5 p.m. in both locations as a sign of hope, sanctuary, peace and solidarity. As the luminaries are lit, bells will toll from SOMA places of worship to remind families to light up the outside of their homes with luminaries. The goal is for 1,000 homes in SOMA to be lit up. Please share images of your luminaries using hashtags #SOMALuminaries and #LetThereBeLight.
The luminaries come four in a pack for a suggested donation of $10 to raise funds for the coalition. Purchase luminaries at Words Bookstore in Maplewood, Sparkhouse toy store in South Orange or at the coalition’s office.
For more information, visit www.twotowns.org or call 973-761-6116.