×

Jaffrey Civic Center celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Homeschool fifth grader Margaret Winiecki was one of the people who helped read the “In His Own Words” portion of the Jaffrey Civic Center’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Keynote speaker David C. Howse said that it is not enough to dream of a better world, people must wake up and act upon their dreams.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • Conant High School tenth-grader Mekyra Niemela reads her essay during the Jaffrey Civic Center’s MLK Day celebration. Niemela won second place in the Civic Center’s poetry contest.  Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

  • The Jaffrey Civic Center celebrated it's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at he United Church of Jaffrey on Monday. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 6:3PM

The candlelit faces packed inside the United Church of Jaffrey on Monday night looked around with surprise and jubilation as the lights began to flicker as they sang “Shine on Me.”

The irony of the situation – the lyrics to the song repeat the phrases “shine on me” and “I wonder if the lighthouse will shine on me” – likely illicited many thoughts and reactions from the crowd of around 200 people. Could it have been an electrical anomaly? Maybe someone was messing around with the light switch.

Or maybe, just maybe, it was the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his approval during the conclusion of the Jaffrey Civic Center’s annual celebration.

“This evening, we have done just what Dr. King asked. We have rung the bells of freedom from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire,” said United Church of Christ Reverend Mark Koyama, during his invocation. “We look back this evening remembering Dr. King. We look forward this evening to embodying the dream of Dr. King.”

The celebration – which this year marked the 50th year after Dr. King’s death with the theme “What is the dream today?” – included a number of songs sung by the Rindge Memorial School and Jaffrey Grade School choruses, a reading from King’s speech at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on Aug. 28, 1963, the announcing of the winners of the Civic Center’s middle school poster and high school essay contests, and the ringing of the United Church's Revere bell as part of the “Let Freedom Ring: Choose Non-Violence” National Bell-Ringing Ceremony.

“In so many ways we are living the dream. It’s important though, to remind myself that those changes are not the result of a dream alone,” said David C. Howse, the event’s keynote speaker. “It’s so easy to boil Dr. King’s message down to an inspirational speech – and believe me I don’t knock inspirational speeches – but social change has always depended on people who can write and perform and bring people together.”

Howse, the executive director of ArtsEmerson and associate vice president of Emerson College, opened his speech by asking the audience three questions: is Dr. King’s dream of justice a reality, is dreaming enough to bring about justice, and what must we do today beyond celebrating his dream?

Howse answered all of his questions, saying that the American people cannot be content in simply dreaming: we must all wake up and act upon those dreams. 

“Dreams do not themselves improve the world – the dreamers do,” said Howse. “It’s not simply enough to dream of a better world, we must wake up and make it a better world.”

Howse acknowledged that there have been many advancements throughout history in terms of making Dr. King’s dream a reality, but there is always more work to be done. 

”While so much has changed, so much has stayed the same… if we believe that the struggle is just history, that racial and economic and gender injustice is gone from America, then we are truly dreaming.”

Jaffrey homeschooled ninth grader Sigmund Winiecki, who won first place in the poetry contest, told a story of his African-American tennis coach, who was racially profiled in Chicago a few years ago. Winiecki said hearing the story changed his life. 

“In the midst of this seemingly perfect nation, there is only liberty and justice for most… lying to ourselves and telling ourselves that everything is alright is almost as bad as racial inequality itself,” said Winiecki. 

Mekyra Niemela, a Conant High School tenth grader who won second in the contest, spent her speech answering the question “what is a dream?”

“A dream is not destruction, but a thought in one’s mind, a prayer in one’s solitude, a change in one’s world or the reoccurrence of something good,” read Niemela. 

Poster contest winner Samantha Chesney and special merit winner Hailey Dubois were also recognized.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.