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Categorized | A & E, Neighborhood

Martin Luther King Jr Observance Day Jan.15

HARTFORD —  The University of Hartford will hold its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance with keynote speaker Maestro Willie Anthony Waters.

The theme of the observance is the color of unity and will feature an inspirational program of music and reflections commemorating the life and legacy of the civil rights leader from 11 a.m. to noon in Lincoln Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

Waters is formerly the general and artistic director of Connecticut Opera. He has guest conducted for numerous American and European opera companies and symphony orchestras, including several in South Africa. In 1985, Maestro Waters became the first African-American to be named artistic director of a major American opera company. He is currently assistant professor of music at Binghamton University.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Day program will feature musical selections from Professor Nat Reeves, Mark Templeton, Josh Bruneau, and the Hart School Community Division. In addition, alumna Latanya Farrell will give a vocal performance of Lift Every Voice and Sing.



On Jan.15, Simsbury will once again commemorate renowned civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by holding a special program at First Church of Christ at 2:00 p.m.

This ceremony will celebrate Dr. King’s life and particularly his time in Simsbury during the summers of 1944 and 1947, and in observance of the federal holiday marking his birthday.

Dr. King’s profound life achievements were influenced by his two summers spent in Simsbury.  His writings strongly suggest that his call to ministry crystallized during his time spent with a group of Morehouse College students, earning money for their education by working at the Culbro
Tobacco Farm in town.

The 2017 keynote speaker will be Chaplain Miyan Zahir Muhammad Mannan, who will speak on the topic of “Love for All, Hatred for None”. Zahir serves and helps lead the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Meriden at the Baitul Aman “House of Peace” Mosque. He also serves the Meriden Police Department
as their Chaplain. Professionally, he is an Education Consultant and previously published research scientist from Yale School of Medicine.

Zahir frequently publishes and speaks both locally and nationally on theology, human rights, peace and justice with a goal to dispel ignorance about religion and unite fellow Americans in divisive times. Zahir served as a voluntary Chaplain at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury in 2016 where he spent hours with Ted Hakey Jr. who served his sentence there for shooting at Zahir’s Mosque.

The theme of his speech will be Love for all, Hatred for None.


Music Haven and St. Luke’s Steel Band will present music in celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while recognizing several community leaders at First and Summerfield Church in New Haven, CT.

The concert will begin at 2 p.m. at First and Summerfield Church at 425 College New Haven, and is free and open to the public. It will feature songs from the civil rights movement performed by the St. Luke’s Steel Drum Band, Music Haven’s Harmony in Action youth chamber orchestra, and the Haven String Quartet, as well as students from Bridgeport’s High Horizons and Multicultural Magnet School.

Music Haven is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization providing free individual music lessons, group classes, ensemble and leadership development opportunities, and instruments to young people ages 6 to 18 from New Haven’s “Promise Zone” neighborhoods.

This year’s concert will also acknowledge several community leaders for their selfless acts of service over the years, including Dr. Marlene Baldizon, who served as Principal of New Haven’s John C. Daniels School for many years, Al Lucas, Director of Legislative Services for the Board of Aldermen in New Haven, and Kevin Walton Sr., HR Specialist and Minority Teacher Recruiting Coordinator for ACES in North Haven, CT.

For more information, contact Karina Irizarry, at karina@musichavenct.

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