New Bedford's annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community event slated for Sunday

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  • Taylor Dumpson
    American civil rights activist
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    Minister

NEW BEDFORD — The city's annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Community Program is from 3 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 635 Purchase St. in downtown New Bedford.

Sponsored by the City’s Department of Community Services and Human Relations Commission, the program features live poetry, music, and keynote speaker Taylor Dumpson, a restorative justice advocate, and national speaker about the impacts of hate and discrimination. Dumpson also is a 2021 President’s Fellow at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

In Spring 2017, while pursuing her bachelor of arts degree at American University in her hometown of Washington, D.C., Dumpson became the first Black woman to serve as student government president in the university’s 124-year history.

Restorative Justice Advocate Taylor Dumpson is Keynote for MLK Program on Sunday.
Restorative Justice Advocate Taylor Dumpson is Keynote for MLK Program on Sunday.

She was the target of a racially motivated hate crime on her first day in office, followed by cyber-harassment by members of white supremacist groups. Dumpson did not allow these acts to deter her from her goal of becoming a civil rights attorney, though, and successfully pursued litigation against the Neo-Nazis who cyber-harassed her.

Dumpson continues to raise awareness on the impacts that hate and discrimination have on communities, and ways to actively combat them. She has shared this message by testifying before Congress and giving a TEDx Talk, and in interviews with media outlets including CNN, NBC, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

“Taylor Dumpson is an example of the great leadership that is emerging from her millennial generation,” city Human Services Coordinator Marcelina Pina-Christian said. “The spread of hate through trolling and cyber-bullying is something that young people face daily, and our hope is that her advocacy and triumph will encourage more young adults to be the change they want to see.”

Pina-Christian said the city received many submissions to the annual essay contest this year, and the audience “will be inspired by the honesty and creativity of the students.”

She added that Sunday’s event is very mindful of COVID-19 safety.

“The program is just one hour this year,” she said. “Masks and social distancing are required and we do want to stress the importance of that.”

Sunday’s program also features vocal artist and New Bedford native Candida Rose Baptista, whose unique blend of “KabuJazz”— Cape Verdean musical roots and American influences including jazz and R&B — was featured on her 2021 debut album, “KabuMerikana: The Sum of Me.” Also on the program is local music minister, singer, and guitarist Austin Burns.

This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Event slated for Sunday

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