The following is a press release
The town of West Hartford is hosting the 18th annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s life on Monday, Jan. 20 in the West Hartford Town Hall auditorium, 50 S. Main St., from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
The special event pays tribute to Dr. King's ideals and vision is captivating and inspiring and draws nearly 400 people each year.
This year’s keynote speaker is Rev. Michael C. Williams, Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Connecticut Department of Children & Families. John Doar, 2012 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, will also be featured.
Reverend Michael C. Williams is a native of Shreveport, LA, and a 20-year resident of Hartford. He is a graduate of Northeast Louisiana University of Monroe; a graduate of University of Connecticut School of Social Work; a graduate of Trinity College of Vermont; and, a graduate of the University of Connecticut’s School of Business’ Executive Program in Managed Care. He is an ordained clergy and currently serves as a member of the clergy team of the Faith Congregational Church of the United Church of Christ in Hartford. Reverend Williams serves on the Christian Activities Council, the State of Connecticut's Commission on Health Equity, and the Bloomfield Board of Education.
The Dr. Martin Luther King celebration also features special guest John Doar, a 2012 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mr. Doar received this award from President Obama for his tireless work as a lawyer in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice from 1960 to 1967. This was a pivotal time in the life and work of Dr. King. John Doar is respected for his role in some of the most significant events of the 1960s relating to the Civil Rights movement. Under his leadership in with Civil Rights Division the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was created. Mr. Doar also led the prosecution of eighteen Ku Klux Klan members for the 1964 murder of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Rev. Matthew Laney, Senior Minister of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, will provide the opening prayer and Mayor Scott Slifka will welcome attendees.
Seth Lemon of NBC 30 Connecticut will serve as master of ceremonies. Henley Solomon of Conard High School and Stacey-Ann Wallen of Hall High School will give the student perspective speeches. Janet Jackson of the West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization will provide the introduction.
Musical performances will be provided by the Conard Jazz Combo, the Sedgwick Sounds and Conard’s Gospel/Voices of the World choir. Artwork and essays by West Hartford Public School students.
The celebration is free and is open to the public. The West Hartford African American Social & Cultural Organization, Town of West Hartford, and West Hartford Public Schools are annual sponsors of the event. West Hartford Community Television will air the event live and replay it on Comcast Channels 5 and 95. Refreshments are provided by the Elmwood Senior Center.
If you have any questions, call Renée McCue, public relations specialist, at 860-561-7521.