Groups throughout Berkshire County will observe the life, legacy and values of Martin Luther King Jr. today.
Here's a list of happenings throughout the day:
At noon, the Railroad Street Youth Project, Music in Common and Multicultural BRIDGE will participate in the 15th Annual Interfaith Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the First Congregational Church, 251 Main St., in Great Barrington.
North County's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Committee welcomes everyone to join them in a "Day of Service: A Day On, Not Day Off" to celebrate the life, legacy and values of King.
A gathering with coffee and refreshments begins at 9 a.m. in the Church Street Center of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, 375 Church St., North Adams. Around 9:15 a.m., participants start their choice of a community project with either on-site tasks at the center, or off-site at one of more than a dozen participating community locations. There are service projects that are suitable for all ages and abilities, and include painting, cleaning, organizing, building, winterizing or sewing.
A free luncheon and community celebration begins at 12:30 p.m., back at the Church Street Center. There will be a presentation of the Peacemaker Award to Paul Austin of Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity for his many years of dedicated service to build homes for families in Northern Berkshire.
For more information, contact Kathy Keeser at Kathykeeser@gmail.com or (413) 346-7196; or Liz Boland at (413) 663-7588.
Also, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Church Street Center, Northern Berkshire Neighbors will display the "Wall of Hope," a compilation of essays, poems, reflections and pictures about community dreams and hopes.
In 1994, youth from across Northern Berkshire were asked to create essays, poems or drawings to convey their community dreams and hopes in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and these submissions comprised the first edition of the "Book of Dreams."
Twenty years later, area fourth- and fifth-grade students have been asked to do the same. Participating schools include: Greylock and Sullivan elementary schools in North Adams; C.T. Plunkett and St. Stanislaus Kostka schools in Adams; Gabriel Abbott Memorial School in Florida; and the Emma L. Miller Memorial Elementary School in Savoy. Northern Berkshire Neighbors also reached out to all of those involved in the original "Book of Dreams" to share their current community dreams, as well as their reflections on what they wrote in 1994. All will be on display Monday.
For more information, please contact Annie Rodgers at (413) 663-7588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the first time, Berkshire Community College students and staff will collaborate with the First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield by presenting a Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service program. Together, volunteers will prepare and serve a free lunch and provide activities to members of the community who struggle with the challenges of meeting their basic needs due to loss of work or homelessness. The program will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the church, located at 55 Fenn St.
For more information, call (413) 236-1636.
Williams College will host a day-long series of Martin Luther King Jr. Day events in Baxter Hall, located in the Paresky Center on the Williams campus, Main Street, Williamstown.
From noon to 2 p.m., Williams will present a social change media project, which will begin with a screening of the film "Martin Luther King: An Amazing Grace," the first black-produced documentary about King, released in 1978. A short film, "Cicero March," which is about civil rights in Cicero, Ill., in 1966 will follow. Next, there will be a slideshow of activists and scholars from different civil rights and progressive social justice movements.
From 1 to 3 p.m., the Center for Learning in Action will lead an open Q&A program about experimental education, civic engagement, and service learning and opportunities on- and off-campus. The center will also facilitate a brief hands-on service project for students and community members.
Williams Chaplain Rick Spalding will lead a moment of silence at 4 p.m. in memory of King. Spalding will also share a few words on the impact King has had on his own work. Then, students from Williamstown Elementary School will present essays they wrote. A group of students from Brayton Elementary School in North Adams will recite excerpts from works by activists Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai.
At 5 p.m., Images Cinema on Spring Street in Williamstown will screen the film "#Regeneration". The film asks the following questions: Are young people politically apathetic? What are the current issues that motivate young people to act? Following the film, there will be a panel and discussion led by the college's Students for Educational Reform.