Every year, the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race invites the community to light up the outside of their homes or businesses with luminaries as the sun sets on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. 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 are white bags with tea lights inside that can be decorated with images of peace and community. A fundraiser for the Coalition, they come four per pack for a suggested donation of $10 .
The Luminary Project asks people to take a moment to reflect on Dr. King's legacy and call to service and to share that moment with neighbors. 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. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.
Each year since 2013, over 2000 luminaries have been lit throughout SOMA neighborhoods, at Seton Hall University, all around the Meadowland Park Pond, and in front of buildings and businesses. The Luminary Project was started by South Orange resident Patricia Canning and continues to be led by a team of women from South Orange and Maplewood. The volunteers work with local youth groups to create the kits, oversee neighborhood luminary leaders and recruit businesses to be luminary purchase sites.
Interested in getting involved? Email [email protected] to purchase kits and to learn how to be a neighborhood luminary leader.
2023 Luminary Information: Place orders here
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