New Bedford, Massachusetts- The City of New Bedford will be the host to two Martin Luther King, Jr. events during the upcoming holiday weekend.

On Sunday, January 17th at 4pm the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day or Remembrance Celebration will take place at Keith Middle School, 225 Hathaway Boulevard in New Bedford.

“I am pleased that New Bedford will continue its annual tradition of honoring the legacy of one of our nation’s most inspirational leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I encourage everyone to attend this celebration and take advantage of the opportunity to reflect on Dr. King’s message of peace and unity,” said New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang.

Dr. King was an integral part of the Civil Rights Movement which laid the foundation for the theory and practice of inclusion and diversity in American society and around the world. Though he was assassinated in 1968, Dr. King’s dream lives on, touching the hearts and minds of people throughout the world.

The theme for the 2010 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Remembrance Celebration is “Building A Dream, through Non-Violence and Education.” The program will feature hip- hop performers from Westchester County, New York under the direction of Cornell Carelock, a White Plains educator and artist with the Martin Luther King Jr. Institute for Non-Violence. The group performs under the name HIP HOP which stands for Highly Intelligent People Healing Our Planet. Their music is based on Dr. King’s Six Principles of Non-Violence. The group will also perform at the Gifts to Give MLK Celebration on Jan. 18th.

The program will also feature Dr. Steve Perry as the Keynote Speaker. Dr. Perry is the Founder and Principal of Capitol Preparatory School in Hartford, Connecticut where 100% of its graduates have continued on to a four college. He is a nationally sought after speaker and is the CNN Education Contributor and Essence Best Selling author with his latest book “Man Up! Nobody is going to save us.” Dr Perry will discuss the Power of Education, followed by a 15 minute Q & A session.

The program will also feature musical performances by the New Bedford High School Marching under the direction of Eric Drew Band, the New Bedford High School Jazz Choir under the direction of Pauline Brazil DeBalsi, and more.

According to 2010 Chairwoman Marci Pina-Christian, and Co-Chair Carol Walsh, the annual MLK Celebration has been hosted by a variety of community groups over the past years and this year the Keith Middle School has opened its doors to the program. The goal of this year’s event is inspire and uplift our youth so that they can be empowered to reclaim the dream.

Members of the MLK, Jr. Service Planning Committee include the; New Bedford Branch of the NAACP, The Human Relations Commission, The City of New Bedford, The Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford, Grace Episcopal Church, New Bedford Public Schools, Baha’i Faith, Tifereth Israel Congregation, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and The Worship Center.

For additional information visit the City website at or contact Marci Pina-Christian or the City of New Bedford Human Relations Commission at (508) 979-1464.

On Monday, January 18th, Mayor Scott W. Lang has asked all New Bedford residents to serve alongside him on the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on January 18, 2010, the Kick Off for New Bedford’s Cities of Service Initiative.

“This is an opportunity for all New Bedford residents to join together in the spirit of Dr. King’s legacy to help shape and transform our city through service,” Mayor Lang said. “I call on all of our residents, and those from neighboring towns, to join me in rolling up our sleeves on this holiday to strengthen our community.” Mayor Lang demonstrated his commitment to service by signing on as a member of the Cities of Service coalition earlier this year, and will volunteer his time at Gifts to Give in New Bedford on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.

The City of New Bedford Department of Community Services is collaborating with South Coast Serves, a regional partnership of municipalities and organizations dedicated to fostering service and volunteerism, in promoting the Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday, January 18, 2010. Together with the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Bristol Community College, Coastline Elderly Services, the Inter-Church Council of Greater New Bedford, Youth Build New Bedford, and other local organizations, the New Bedford Office of Community Services is recruiting volunteers for work shifts at Gifts to Give at 21 Cove Street, New Bedford, from 9 – noon and from 1 – 4 p.m. on January 18th. There, volunteers can help sort, inspect and process donations and assemble gift packages for local children in need.

Lunch will be provided for volunteers, and volunteers will also be treated to musical entertainment and performances by local groups. For more information, go to or, or call the Office of Community Services at (508) 961-3136.

New Bedford residents can also visit to find out about other King Day service opportunities and design their own service projects. The site also features tool kits and other resources that will help area residents mobilize their neighbors to support a service project that addresses local challenges. Non-profit and service organizations can also use the site to register their projects and recruit volunteers.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The effort to make the King Holiday a “day on, not a day off,” focuses on engaging Americans in service to honor Dr. King’s legacy. More than 1.5 million volunteers served in 13,000 projects last year that took place in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Founded in New York City on September 10, 2009, Cities of Service is a bipartisan coalition of mayors who have answered the historic Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act’s call to action. Cities – often at the front lines of our nation’s most pressing challenges – are ideally positioned to work together to engage millions more volunteers in service and develop strategies to increase the amount and impact of local service efforts. Coalition members, by signing a Declaration of Service, will work together to lead a multi-year effort to expand community service and volunteerism in cities across the country.