Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Observance & Luminary Lighting

Executive Director Nancy Gagnier welcomes MLK guest speaker Mark Morial, President of the National Urban League

The Interfaith Outreach Committee sponsors the Coalition’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Observance and Volunteer Fair, in conjunction with different local faith communities. For the past 22 years, the Coalition has brought powerful speakers to the community in honor of Dr. King, including:

  • Larry Hamm, chair of the People’s Organization for Progress
  • Lashawn Y. Warren, Vice President and General Counsel at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice
  • Michelle Miller, award-winning CBS News Correspondent reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms, and South Orange resident
  • Joseph Ford, Selma Freedom Rider, activist, Maplewood resident
  • Junius Williams, Director of the Abbott Institute in Newark, lawyer, scholar, musician, and writer
  • Khalil Gibran Muhammad, professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and South Orange resident
  • Marc Morial, leader of the National Urban League, former mayor of New Orleans, and South Orange resident
  • Reverend Raquel A. St. Clair, Ph.D., the first woman to serve as an Executive Minister to the 5600 members of the historic St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church in Newark
  • Wahy ud-Deen Shareef a Senior Advisor to Newark Mayor, Cory Booker and Imam at Masjid Waarith ud Deen in Irvington
  • Hendricks Davis, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Newark, Inc.
  • Dr. Clement Price, a professor of history and chairman of the Department of African-American Studies at Rutgers University

In years past, following the Observance, the Coalition sponsored a Volunteer Fair each year to give all our local volunteer and service organizations an outreach opportunity to our residents. For locals looking for volunteer service, this fair is a great chance to see what is available right here in our towns. We also invite the community to sponsor service projects, donation opportunities, and events that reflect Dr. King’s call to serve throughout the weekend and at the Volunteer Fair. Various groups have offered events such as a blood drive, food collections, clothing donations, and stories and crafts for to teach kids about Martin Luther King. Our goal is to strengthen the community by empowering individuals through service.

We look forward to the return of the Volunteer Fair in the future when we can safely convene.

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