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New Orleans honors MLK Jr. on 27th annual national holiday

22nd January 2013   ·   0 Comments

Local schools, groups, community leaders, residents and city officials paused last week to kick off a week-long schedule of events to mark the life and accomplishments of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Last week, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Planning Commission announced the schedule of events for the city’s twenty-seventh annual MLK holiday celebration. The events began on Tuesday, January 15 and culminated with a program and march from City Hall to the MLK Memorial on Claiborne Avenue on Monday, January 21.

MLK-w-Nobel-prize-012113Official events this year included a wreath laying ceremony, an educational series on civil disobedience and civil rights, a choral concert, a service project, and an art exhibition.

Mayor Landrieu said a particular focus of this year’s festivities was Dr. King’s message of nonviolence and the City’s NOLA FOR LIFE comprehensive plan to reduce murder. He said he’s hopeful that in remembering Dr. King’s legacy, the city can overcome its current challenges together. “We face many challenges today — violence, fear, division — but I know, together, we as citizens can overcome these challenges and act to improve the lives of our people,” he said.

The Rev. Norwood Thompson, chair of the New Orleans Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Planning Commission said, “Each year on the third Monday of January, schools, federal and local buildings, post offices and banks across America close as we celebrate the birth, life and dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a time for the nation to remember the injustices that Dr. King fought for and his fight for the freedom, equality, and dignity of all people. This year’s events are also a time to remember the message of change through nonviolence.”

On January 21, Dillard University will present a lecture by activist-scholar Dr. Cornel West and acclaimed journalist and author Tavis Smiley. The event, part of the authors’ Poverty Manifesto lecture series in conjunction with the High Quality Speakers Bureau, will feature addresses by Smiley and West, followed by an audience Q&A, and a signing of their 2012 book The Rich and the Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto. It will begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 21 in Lawless Memorial Chapel. It is free and open to the public.

Smiley is the host of “Tavis Smiley” on PBS, as well as the syndicated radio programs “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Smiley & West.”

West is a professor of philosophy and Christian practice at Union Theological Seminary and professor emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris.

This article was originally published in the January 21, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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