Music and community events set for Dr. King Celebration Weekend in Saratoga Springs

On the calendar, only one day, the third Monday in January, is labeled as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It also marks the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the leader of the civil rights movement.

However, this weekend, Saratoga Springs will dedicate not one, not two, but four days to a federal holiday in its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

First held over 20 years ago, the celebration runs Friday through Monday and is hosted by MLK Saratoga, a community-based organization. It aims to further Dr. King’s values ​​and goals of racism, equity, inclusion and social justice.

MLK Saratoga Treasurer Hollyday Hammond said: “This is ongoing work and goes hand in hand with community building.”

The Dr. King Celebration Weekend takes place on Friday at the Holiday Inn and kicks off with the More Music, Less Violence show. Hosted by local musician DJ Hollyw8d, the performance featured several artists including Saratoga Springs’ first poet laureate Joseph Bulchuck, Motown pop/funk bands Doc Horton & The Jay St Band, singers Quadie Rouse and Courtney Simmons. will participate.

“This weekend is definitely going to be a book weekend,” said Mario Johnson, better known as DJ Hollyw8d. “Being able to come together as a community with all ethnicities, all backgrounds, a very diverse group of people means that at the end of the day, we are all human beings, respected, loved and shown love. rice field.”

The celebration continues through the weekend with music, presentations, panels and workshops at various venues around Saratoga, including Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Cafe Lena and Temple Sinai.

In addition, the Saratoga Public Library has partnered with other local businesses and leaders to develop projects such as the Mooncatcher Project and service projects with Saratoga Pride, African-American folktales, restorative justice in schools, and debates on urban impact. , with many activities throughout the weekend. Renewal in Saratoga Springs.

Jennifer Ogrodowski, director of adult services at the Saratoga Public Library, said: “Working with an organization like MLK Saratoga expands the jobs and opportunities offered by both libraries and community organizations.”

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center also opens its doors on Saturday night for a powerful conversation, “The Greatest Love of All: Black Women’s Roots and Revolution in Pop.” The event will be led by author Danielle Smith and Skidmore College professors Emmanuel Balogun and Tammy Owens, with performances by artist girlfriend D. Colin. Discussion will center on the history of black women’s contribution to American pop music, an often overlooked and derogatory story inspired by Smith’s book Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop .

By acknowledging and appreciating the legacy of black women’s “genius” in music, Owens hopes that people will recognize the need to listen and reach out to all black women who are often overlooked and vilified in society. I would like to get started.

“For our racial justice project to work, we must be able to reach out to the most silenced, forgotten and often maligned people, and who happen to be young black girls and women. “People now hear and see loud and public love for black girls and women because of the way we make black girls adults and the way we make black women bad. You have to

The festivities end on Monday with the Martin Luther King Jr. Feast Weekend Service Day. People are encouraged to participate in volunteer projects and get closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “beloved community.”

But while the Dr. King Celebration Weekend is MLK Saratoga’s “highlight,” Vice President Dora Lee Stanley stresses that it’s just part of the organization’s program.

“Although it’s the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Weekend, MLK actually runs programs and events throughout the year,” said Stanley. ‘It’s not just a weekend issue’

The group’s inspiration for consistent engagement with the community comes from Dr. King’s principles of non-violence, which encourage active participation of individuals, organizations and businesses.

“Basically, there was the perfect storm of George Floyd being murdered in front of everyone, COVID and the disparities in healthcare, poverty, homelessness … people feel more active,” Hammond said. I was. “Some people are more open and want to learn about these really hard issues.”

MLK Saratoga hopes that the Dr. King Celebration Weekend and other events will bring more people into action and conversation.

“Everyone is welcome here,” said Stanley. “Dr. King’s principles affect everyone. Everyone wants better communities, everyone has equality, inclusion and diversity, and is committed to the right to education and equality in schools. I want to fight.”

The Dr. King Celebration Weekend runs Friday through Monday. For more information, including a complete schedule of events, visit

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Categories: Entertainment, Life and Arts

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