Martin Luther King Day 2013 Events in Cambridge
January 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and this year, Martin Luther King Day falls on the same day as the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. Cambridge is marking this special day with a range of events and activities centered on Central Square, which was recently named a cultural district by Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Cambridge Peace Commission executive director Brian Corr explains, “This year, there’s something for everyone right in Central Square, the heart of Cambridge. City Hall will be open to welcome the community to view the Presidential Inauguration, and the Peace Commission will hold its annual Commemoration and Remembrance of Dr. King at St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Cambridge’s Many Helping Hands is organizing its annual Day of Service with volunteer activities at City Hall, the Senior Center and other sites. This amazing day will wrap up with a performance of the award-winning play The Mountaintop at the Central Square Theater.”
The day will begin with City Hall being opened to the public to watch the Presidential Inauguration on large-screen televisions, starting one hour before the inauguration begins. Mayor Henrietta Davis and the City Manager’s Office collaborated to provide a public space for people to gather together and witness one of the hallmarks of American democracy.
Next up is Cambridge’s annual Commemoration and Remembrance of MLK from Noon to 2:00 PM, organized by the Cambridge Peace Commission. This annual event includes readings of Dr. King’s words calling for peace, justice and transformation, a musical performance by Véronique Epiter, and remarks from Maria Elena Letona, a long-time community activist and organizer and the former executive director of Centro Presente. Full details are at www.cambridgema.gov/peace or call 617.349.4694.
People can then go immediately to the third annual Many Helping Hands Day of Service from 2:00 to 5:00 PM. In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., volunteers of all ages are joining together for an afternoon of service to Cambridge residents in need. In addition to providing an opportunity for people of all ages to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King through personal volunteerism, Many Helping Hands aims to raise public awareness of the year-round needs in the community. To register or for more information visit www.manyhelpinghands365.org.
The day will end with a performance with the Underground Railway Theater’s production of The Mountaintop at 7:30 PM at the Central Square Theater at 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. This Olivier-award winning play reimagines Dr. King’s last night on earth, with a focus on remembering the humanity of Dr. King, and that evening’s performance will be followed by a discussion with Brian Corr focusing where we can see connections, as Dr. King did, between racism, militarism, and poverty. More information can be found at http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/12-13/the-mountaintop.html.
The theater’s artistic director, Debra Wise, states on their website that, “Underground Railway Theater has always been drawn to theater that responds to the moment. 2013 is the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. What do we do to mark it? When the opportunity came to stage Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop, we seized it. We are excited about how audiences in London and New York have been both inspired and moved by this provocative play that imagines King’s humanity, celebrates his vision, and asks us what we are going to do to take up the baton. Katori Hall has written a poetic, funny and moving piece of American theatre. We look forward to performing The Mountaintop in Cambridge during Dr. King’s birthday, honoring both the man and the icon, and motivating our participation in his legacy.” The Mountaintop will be at the Central Square Theater from January 10 through February 3.
For up-to-date information on the day’s events, visit the Cambridge Peace Commission’s website at www.cambridgema.gov/peace.