It's great to see a fresh start for Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Bristol this year. The big event is a breakfast at Bristol Eastern High School, but Beulah A.M.E. Zion Church will also be holding its annual, open service. Here's what I wrote about the day's lineup for the Press:
Residents will have several opportunities to mark the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday.
The Greater Bristol branch of the NAACP is holding a commemorative breakfast with speakers and music at Bristol Eastern High School that President Lexie Mangum hopes will unify the community.
“This year, we just wanted to bring Bristol together,” said Mangum. “It’s a new year. We’re going to start it out afresh.”
Many members of Bristol’s black community aren’t familiar with city leaders, said Mangum, and the breakfast will be a chance to open that door.
“This is a good year to just come and meet and greet,” Mangum said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Mangum expects a crowd of about 250 people, including politicians, business people, religious leaders, community activists and citizens.“Everyone’s invited,” said Mangum.
Madrigal choirs from both Bristol Eastern and Bristol Central High School will perform, said Mangum.
It will also be the debut performance of a new choir made up of members of the Greater Bristol NAACP.
Raymond Ortiz, last year’s Connecticut Youth of the Year, will emcee the breakfast, some city leaders will be invited to speak and Doris Arrington , dean of students at Capital Community College, will deliver the keynote address.
Friday, Jan. 15 is the last day that tickets are available, and they can be purchased for $10 each at Mangum’s barber shop on South Street. No tickets will be available at the door.
Mangum said the breakfast should be over in time for people to get to Beulah A.M.E. Zion Church for a Martin Luther King Day service.
Barbara Camerl, the chairperson of the King Day service at the church, said it will start promptly at 11 a.m. at the church, at 138 Circle St., Forestville.
“We have a wonderful program planned for that day,” said Camerl.
She said the Rev. John Walker of St. James Baptist Church in New Britain will be the guest speaker.
The program will also include music, said Camerl, and will last about 90 minutes.
“Everyone is welcome,” said Camerl. “Every year, we have a good crowd.”
At the Imagine Nation children’s museum at 1 Pleasant St. downtown, Monday will be “I Have a Dream Day,” said program coordinator Hannah Richard.
For the $7 admission fee, several special “stations” throughout the museum will seize on King’s messages, including writing “dream journals,” making art with “dream catchers” and storytelling.
“Special Martin Luther King stories will be read throughout the day,” said Richard.
The museum, which is typically closed on Mondays, will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., she said.
“When school’s closed, this is our big time to shine,” said Richard.