MLK Day celebration planned in Manchester on Jan. 16

Jan. 6—"Communication Across Difference: Toward Beloved Community" is the theme of this year's annual celebration of Martin Luther King Day, to be held in Manchester on Monday, Jan. 16.

Hosted by the Martin Luther King Coalition at Manchester Memorial High School from 1 to 4 p.m., the event will feature panel discussions, awards, music and a reading from Dr. King's work. It's the first in-person celebration since the pandemic began.

This year's theme comes from a 1962 speech King delivered at Cornell College, where he said, "People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other."

Grace Kindeke, program coordinator of American Friends Service Committee's New Hampshire program, will receive this year's Martin Luther King award. The award recognizes someone in New Hampshire for their work to advance the causes of racial justice, economic and social justice, peace, and the use of nonviolence to bring about change.

An activist, artist, dancer and community organizer, Kindeke has served AFSC-NH since 2020.

This year's Vanessa Johnson youth award will be presented to Sarah Naje, a rising senior at the Derryfield School who works with the NAACP in Manchester.

Special awards also will be given to Jason Bonilla, a member of the Manchester school board and program developer for the Leaders Fellowship; and to Tina Philibotte, equity director for the Manchester School District.

The Rev. Jason Wells, a member of the MLK Coalition and pastor of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Goffstown, called on all who are inspired by King's vision to attend the celebration. He said the annual gathering "bridges divisions in our society and helps us work together for a better future for us all."

The MLK Coalition also includes members from AFSC-NH, Greater Manchester Black Scholarship Foundation, Manchester Education Association, Manchester NAACP, National Education Association, City Year, New Hampshire Council of Churches and Temple Adath Yeshurun.

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