The MLK Luminary Project

Hosted by the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race each year since 2013 at sunset on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday (the 3rd Monday in January), we ask people to light up the outside of their homes or businesses with Luminaries, white bags with votive candles inside that can be decorated with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision. The goal is for thousands of homes in SOMA to be lit up as a sign of hope, sanctuary, peace, and solidarity with Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community. The Luminaries come four in a pack for a suggested donation of $10 and it is a fundraiser for the Coalition.

The Luminary Project was started by South Orange resident Patricia Canning and continues to be led by a team of women from both South Orange and Maplewood who work with local youth groups on creating the kits; oversee neighborhood luminary leaders; and work with businesses to be luminary purchase sites. Interested in getting your neighbors to join in the lighting? Email us at info@twotowns.org or call our office and we’ll set you up with kits and a sign up sheet for donations for your street!

Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.

2021: The Luminary Project will be adjusted for safety reasons as we continue to deal with COVID19. It may be a little different this year, but we are planning ways to light up SOMA on the evening of Dr. King's birthday, bringing as much community spirit as we can!

Check this page beginning in December for details on:

  • Where you can purchase luminary kits.
  • How you can join the Luminary Project and lead your neighborhood or block in displaying lights!


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