Newark honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with virtual celebrations of his life
The city of Newark honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with virtual celebrations of his life and accomplishments.
Mayor Ras Baraka hosted the 33rd annual celebration called “Sing in Praise of King,” calling the holiday more relevant this year than ever before. Baraka was joined by keynote speaker Rev. Dr. William Barber and a handful of performers.
The Newark Museum of Art also took part in the day with an online celebration, even though the museum is closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kind of a vehicle through the arts to help people go through the healing process. 2020 was a doozy of a year and everyone needs to reflect on where we came from, where we are and where we go,” says museum director Shirley Thomas.
The museum held a day of virtual activities called “Breaking Down Barriers,” including an interpretation of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech by the museum’s youth program. There were musical and poetry performances, interactive workshops and a live conversation with the artist who created a now-famous image of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
Those involved say art helping to further Dr. King's message of hope in a year where the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for social justice reform reminded all Americans how far they still must go.
“His message was that all people come together. Doesn't matter your color, your creed, where you come from, it’s the content of your character,” Thomas says. “And I hope programs we put on will allow people to express character and who they are. And we can come together as a community even with differences of opinion."
The performances, exhibits, workshops and chats are staying on the museum's social media platforms for the time being.