The sanctuary at First United Methodist Church in Oneonta was filled with inspiring words, social commentary and song this afternoon as crowds gathered to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 91st birthday. The event, hosted by the Oneonta NAACP, featured over a dozen speakers and performers including Yolanda Bush, seen above with Rich Mollen, as she sings “Rise Above,” written by Robin Seletsky and dedicated to the Oneonta NAACP. Mayor Gary Herzig, inset right, was also among the speakers, where he praised the NAACP and the Oneonta Police Department for their leadership in civil rights issues. He continued, encouraging vigilance, saying there was still work to do even in a “progressive and diverse” City like Oneonta: “Here in Oneonta, an individual visited our DMV and was told, ‘We cannot serve you,’ and was told to go to Cooperstown. In the year 2020 we are hearing this! As Dr. King said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ Oneonta must be open and welcome all persons.” Herzig’s reference was to the “Green Light” Law, where the state Legislature directed the issuance of driver’s licenses to illegal aliens; because of the special equipment and training required, county Clerk Kathy Sinnott Gardner has centralized processing those license applications at the main office in Cooperstown. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
ONEONTA – Reginald Brunson’s rendering of the “I Have a Dream” speech and clarinetist Robin Seletsky’s original composition, “Rise Above,” will highlight Martin Luther King Day commemorations 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, at Temple Beth El, 83 Chestnut St.
Organized by the Oneonta Branch, NAACP, those marking Dr. King’s 90th birthday will be Mayor Gary Herzig, the NAACP’s Lee Fisher, the USCT’s Harry Bradshaw Matthews, Temple Beth El’s Ken Sider and Fair for All’s Christina Hunt.
The theme, “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere,” was central to King’s 1963 “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, JAN. 15
MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY – Visit www.thekingcenter.org/meaning-king-holiday to learn more.
CELEBRATION – 9 a.m. Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the museum. Features guided tours, opportunity to learn about Jackie Robinson & Roberto Clemente. Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-7200 or visit baseballhall.org/node/15910?date=0
FILM & DISCUSSION – 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Showing civil rights film “Martin Luther King, I Have A Dream,” with Harry Bradshaw Matthews as facilitator. Location TBA. Call 607-431-4428 or visit www.hartwick.edu/campus-life/intercultural-affairs/